Which is the most reliable platform for your presentations or online classroom.
Despite recovering from Covid-19, I’m now into my second month of doing shows (or online classrooms) from my living room via Zoom, MS Teams and Google Meet. I’ve had some lovely feedback from schools, which suggests that it was indeed a good idea to go down this route. You can find more details of the Covid-safe catch up here and you can find out more about my Christmas Special here.
The purpose of this comparison isn’t really to compare the features of these platforms, but rather the reliability of each. It’s also worth noting that I’ve mainly been using the iPad apps for each.
Zoom - the best known
Zoom has enjoyed a real boost in its share price thanks to Covid-19 and it’s easy to see why. It just seems to work. You have all of the features you would expect, such as screen share (a bit clunky on all platforms) and various annotation tools. In terms of reliability, I can’t say I’ve had any issues with bandwidth or quality.
There are some things that can catch you out with Zoom and you need to get into the settings to address them. As my own online classrooms contain music and songs, I needed to uncheck the built in noise suppressor (designed to filter out background noise). It’s well worth going onto the settings and having a play around - this is where you can also find the fun things like the automatic green screen function, which can really add some fun.
Overall score 4.5/5
Google Meet - the secret weapon
The way I operate my shows, I receive an invite from the schools I work with. That way the schools can retain control over the sessions and invite any pupils who may be self-isolating at the last minute. When I was considering being the host of a meeting, I consulted with my brother-in-law, whose business is setting up ICT systems in schools (https://www.jeffwilsonict.co.uk). He strongly recommends Google products and on using Google Meet, I can see why.
It has the features of the others, but it seems without too many unnecessary complications. It just works, but without cumbersome noise suppression and the like. I think that of all of the platforms, Google Meet is currently my favourite.
Overall score 5/5
Microsoft Teams - the one that most schools use
Can I caveat this by saying I like Bill Gates. He’s a man who gives to charity and I have no idea why conspiracy theorists think he’s trying to put a microchip in us all (quite why anyone would care what I get up to on a day to day basis is beyond me). I’ve never been a huge fan of Microsoft products though.
Back in the 90s, I had an Apple Mac, which just worked better than any Windows PC. The user experience was much nicer, but EVERYONE seemed to be using Windows. It crashed, the programmes were buggy and clunky to use, but the popularity was there.
The above can apply to MS Teams. I haven’t (touch wood) had any disasters with any platform, but MS Teams seems without doubt the most vulnerable to bandwidth issues. I’ve often had to log off and log back on before I can get a video feed. The other day, my own video monitor just vanished. Whilst I’ve always been able to get things working, this is the one platform I wouldn’t recommend, but unfortunately, most school technicians know it, so you might well be stuck with it.
Overall score 3/5
All three platforms work, but from a reliability perspective, I’d definitely go with Google Meet and Zoom over MS Teams. Let me know if your experience is different.