Stories from Zoom


Julia Epling, Writer

After the recent extended school cancelation due to Coronavirus, students and teachers are forced to acclimate to these troubling times. Many teachers are opting to use Zoom, a popular tool for video conferencing that is now being used in replacement for schools and workplaces across America.

This change, however, leaves some students and staff members struggling to adapt to the new rules for video conferencing. Cameras suddenly expose details in people’s home life that were never seen before. The proper etiquette for Zoom is still evolving as the service becomes more popular and many students question how they need to appear on camera.

         “I’ve been on Zoom meetings where I haven’t done my hair, gotten dressed up, or put on makeup. My dog has also barked in the background of videos so I try to keep my camera and microphone off,” Lillian Putterbaugh (10) said.

         It’s important for students to remember that even the quietest sounds could be picked up. Therefore, many teachers recommend muting the computer microphone when you aren’t speaking.

         “I didn’t know that your sound is still on even if your camera isn’t, so I ended up having a conversation with my sister during a practice Zoom lesson. It wasn’t until afterwards that my teacher said, ‘oh by the way, your sound doesn’t turn off even though your camera is off.’ It was really embarrassing,” anonymous junior said.

         In addition to this, some students have opted to turn off their camera when in a Zoom lesson. While this is dependent on the teacher’s recommendation, some classes do require cameras to be turned on at all times. This can be for several reasons, one being to ensure that everyone is paying attention.

         “I have to have my camera on for Spanish, which makes sense because the class is focused on speaking to one another,” Putterbaugh said.

         Because Zoom has become the new way to see friends, students have figured out how to change their background, which can make lessons more enjoyable for them. In addition to this, “Zoomers,” or Generation Z students, have begun to make memes about their online learning.

         While this can be fun, students have also noticed how difficult Zoom can be with slow internet. Whether their audio cuts out for a few seconds or the video lags, most students have experienced technical difficulties.

         “One time I was in class and everyone had already left the meeting, but I had to sit their awkwardly because my computer wouldn’t let me leave. It was just me and my teacher staring at each other quietly,” Anna Towner (11) said.

         For the time being, however, students have learned to adapt and overcome awkward situations. Zoom was originally made for simple video conferences with workers; however, with its exponentially growing number of users, it still has room to develop and be made easier.