Remote learning has been adopted as a mainstay in an education environment where teachers and students need to contend with switching between in-person and at-home learning at short notice.
While not all devices are recommended for distance learning, there are situations where devices not recommended will need to be used for distance learning.
Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure that students and teachers have the tools to get the most out of their basic classroom devices when they need to be used for video conferencing.
What can I do to improve my video call performance?
On video-call apps like Meet & Zoom
- Livestream instead of joining live to improve device performance
- To keep things interactive, you can use Slides Q&A for engagement while livestreaming. Or, pre-record a lesson and then send it out afterwards.
- Virtual backgrounds are fun, but they consume significant CPU. Turning off virtual backgrounds will help improve video performance, especially in larger meetings.
- If device performance is still not acceptable, consider asking users to turn their camera off temporarily.
- If needed, you can also ask Admins to restrict virtual backgrounds.
On a Chromebook
- Update to the latest version of Chrome OS
- Go to chrome://version and check the device listed as part of the “Firmware Version”
- Reduce the number of open tabs and apps (especially videos/games) to avoid spreading your CPU usage. You should see incremental improvement as you close additional tabs.
- Toggle off Chrome Extensions, especially those that interact with Google Meet
- Internet/Connectivity & Bandwidth:
- Your home internet might not be as reliable as you think. Cable internet can get slowed down by other users (entertainment streaming, etc.).
- Run a speed test to make sure your internet is stable. Make sure you have at least 3.2 Mbps uplink and downlink
- Limit Meet bandwidth usage for users in a specific organisational unit by setting the default video quality in Google Admin console.
- Ventilation - use your Chromebook on a hard surface like a desk or countertop to keep it well ventilated, especially if you have a fanless device. Your Chromebook’s performance may degrade if it overheats. Cushioned surfaces like a sofa or pillow, keep heat in and prevent the Chromebook from cooling off.
- Charging - as much as possible, avoid charging the laptop while you are in a video call (this can also affect device temperature since charging the battery generates heat, which may lead to additional performance impact).
Additional help for families
- The Guardian’s Guide to Google Meet contains an overview of this specific tool, why it was chosen, and how students use it.
- The Teacher Center has the Tech Toolkit for educators to use in understanding how to use Google tools to communicate more effectively with families.
- Tech toolkit video for families and guardians: Google Meet - Google Innovator and GEG leader, Lesleigh Altmann, walks through Google Meet and what Families and Guardians need to know.