-Posted by Jonathan Wilson 03/18/20-
As we enter a time of self-isolation and the inability to meet in groups face-to-face, we want to encourage every Adult Sunday School Teacher to put a plan together for their class to meet online or via phone conference call.
Consider the following as you think about best day/time to meet:
As your group becomes good at connecting remotely, consider who you should invite into the group. There will be many neighbors and friends who will be looking to connect with somehow right now. Reach out and invite them. It’s as easy as sharing a link or a phone number!
GUIDE TO GATHER BY TECHNOLOGY FOR FRUIT COVE BAPTIST CHURCH
OPTIONS FOR GATHERING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY (PHONE/DESKTOP):
This is the tool that I’ve seen the most success with group meetings to date. Up to 100 people may participate in video conference, with options of being on video or off. This option is best utilized when people call in to listen to one primary speaker. People may call in to join the meeting without video capabilities as well. Will require download of app to use on the phone and a quick download of software for laptop. You can break off into smaller groups from larger group if you want (see How To Use Zoom below). Free version available for calls under 40 min, full version is $15 per host per month. Zoom is popular because it is easy to use and has great functionality. BEST FOR LARGER GROUPS
Up to 100 people may participate in video conference, with options of being on video or off. People may call in to join the meeting without video capabilities. Will require download of app to use video conf on phone and a quick download of software for laptop. Free version available, but could cost $13.95 per host per month.
Simple tool, but works best if all users have a Gmail account. 10 people may be in video call together; Will require download of app to use on the phone. It is web based for laptops. You email them the link, and they can join the meeting. BEST FOR SMALLER GROUPS
6 people may be in video all together. Simple for groups of people that all use Facebook, but you have to add people/dial-in to get started. Will require download of Messenger app on the phone. This one is a little harder because you add one person at a time, and they may not answer.
This allows for 10 people screen sharing on a group call, with a maximum of 25 people in the call. Will require download of app on the phone and software on your laptop. There are paid services for adding conference lines as well.
The top two have the most functionality and allow for people to come in and out of the call without disturbing the group. Zoom allows you to break off into smaller groups as well for prayer or discussion. Google Hangouts is a good free solution for video calls. It’s not hard to sign up for a Gmail account, and it works well (especially on Google Chrome when signed into Gmail).
You sign up for an account with an email/password or Facebook account. They ask you to contribute a $ each month or select $3.95 option that eliminates a commercial that is heard before you join the call and gives you a steady number/PIN that the group calls every time. Nothing is ever truly free, but this is a simple way to do it.
BEST PRACTICES FOR CONFERENCE MEETINGS:
HOW TO USE ZOOM (ONLINE MEETING)
AS A HOST:
You will need to sign up to be a host. It is free to host for meetings less than 40 minutes. For meetings more than 40 minutes, the cost is $15 per month.
1. Go to https://zoom.us/home to sign in.
2. Click “Schedule” to schedule a meeting.
3. Fill in the information needed for the upcoming meeting.
4. Once you click “schedule” at the end of your filling up your information, you will be back at the previous screen with the new scheduled meeting shown.
5. Click on “Start” to invite attendees for the meeting. Please follow the instructions as each new dialogue box shows up, e.g. testing audio.
6. Invite attendees to the meeting (Please be sure to invite an hour, at least, ahead of your meeting). There will be prompts to go to your default mail, gmail or yahoo mail to invite attendees. Please follow instructions.
7. Show up a little early to first meeting to launch or conduct a test meeting to launch your first meeting. You will have to download ZoomUsLauncher the first time and Sign In. Give permissions for Zoom to access microphone, camera, files, etc.
8. IMPORTANT TIP: If you need breakout groups, sign in and look for Settings on left hand menu. You have to turn on Breakout Groups BEFORE your meeting to use those.
See Zoom Tutorials for tips on Scheduling, Controlling Meeting, and Facilitating Breakout Rooms. Breakout rooms are excellent for prayer time or group discussion at the end of the meeting.
AS A PARTICIPANT:
You may want to add these instructions to your email to participants to help them with the first time. They do not have to sign up for an account with Zoom, but they will be prompted to download the ZoomUS Launcher (ZIP file) and double click ZoomUSLauncher to join the meeting the first time.
HOW TO USE GOOGLE HANGOUTS:
AS A HOST:
If you do not have a Gmail account, sign up for one. It takes less than 5 minutes to set up. Ask your group to do the same. The experience is also easier if you use a Chrome browser, but not required. Just be ready to sign-in to your Google account if you are using another browser.
AS A PARTICIPANT:
Ask participants to setup a Gmail account if they do not have one already. They can join by smartphone by downloading the Hangouts app.
HOW TO USE FreeConferenceCall.com:
AS A HOST:
You will need to sign up to be a host. It would be smart to check with your group first to see if anyone has access to a conference line that can be used.
AS A PARTICIPANT:
The host will send the dial-in number and access code for the meeting. If the host has paid for the static number and no ads, the number will not change and can be put in a calendar invitation. If the group is using the free service, the host will check the number each week and send weekly number to the group using GroupMe, text messaging, or email. Participants simply dial the number and enter the access code and # to join the call.