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Introduction

A Parent & Student’s Guide to Using Zoom for Learning

K-12, primary & secondary education with Zoom

Whether you’re learning in person or remotely, have fun and stay connected with Zoom in the classroom.

If you’re a parent supporting a young learner, or a student looking to succeed in your digital classroom, read on for tips and guidance on how to get started with Zoom.

Getting started

No matter how far you are from the classroom, you can still learn and thrive using Zoom to connect with teachers and friends. Setting up Zoom takes a few minutes, and you will be able to access your class sessions after you follow these quick steps.

Students 16 years & older

  1. Visit zoom.us and click “Sign up, it’s free.” 
  2. Enter your school email address and click “Sign up.” 
  3. You will then receive an email from Zoom to activate your account. Open the email and click “Activate account.”
  4. Once the webpage opens, fill out the information fields and click “Continue.” 
  5. You can skip inviting others by clicking “Skip this step.”
  6. Your account is now set up!

Students under 16 years old

If you’re under 16 years of age, you will not set up your own Zoom account. Instead, you will use your school email address to join Zoom classes under a process known as external authentication. Follow these steps to join a Zoom meeting using external authentication.

  1. Click on the Zoom meeting link that was provided by your school. You may see a message like this:
  2. Click “Sign in to join.”
  3. A web browser will open, prompting you to sign in with your school login credentials.
  4. You will be placed into the Waiting Room or join the class session, without having to log into a Zoom account.

Download Zoom

Take full advantage of Zoom by downloading the Zoom desktop app. You can join meetings from the app without having a Zoom account.

  1. Visit our download center to download the latest version of the Zoom desktop client for your operating system. 
  2. After the application has been installed, you can start joining meetings.

Zoom for Chromebook

If you’re using a Chromebook for class, download Zoom’s progressive web application (PWA) for Chrome OS to improve your experience.

  1. To download the Zoom PWA, follow these steps:
    1. Visit the Zoom for Chrome PWA app page, or go to the Google Play store and search “Zoom PWA.”
    2. Click “Install.”
    3. Once the app has downloaded, you can join a meeting.
  2. Zoom PWA offers many of the same features as Zoom on your desktop or mobile device, including:
    1. Customizable Gallery View
    2. Live transcription
    3. Raised hand and meeting reactions

Joining a meeting

There are many ways to join Zoom class sessions, including your school’s LMS, Zoom desktop client, Zoom web portal, email, or your calendar. Regardless of how you join, we want to make it easy, so follow the simple steps below.

LMS

Blackboard

  1. Go to your class on Blackboard.
  2. Select “Tools.”
  3. Click “Zoom.”
  4. From the list of all upcoming meetings, click “Join” to be placed into the desired meeting.

Canvas

  1. On the left hand navigation menu, click “Courses.”
  2. Click “Zoom meetings.”
  3. Select “Upcoming meetings.”
  4. Find the desired meeting and click “Join” to enter the meeting.

Clever

  1. Log in to the Clever portal.
  2. Click on your teacher page.
  3. Click on the Zoom icon, and you will be placed into your virtual meeting.

Moodle

  1. Go to your Moodle course and click “Zoom meetings.”
    • Note: Your school may have named this button differently.
  2. Under “Upcoming meetings,” locate your meeting and click “Join.”

Schoology

  1. Open the Schoology course and click the class Zoom link.
  2. The upcoming meetings for that course will show. Click “Join” to enter the meeting.

Email

  1. If a Zoom meeting invite was sent to your email, click the meeting link to join the session.
  2. The Zoom meeting will open and you will be placed into the meeting.

Calendar invite

  1. If a calendar invite was sent via email, you can open up your email’s calendar and click the meeting link.
  2. Zoom will launch the meeting.

Web portal

  1. Go to zoom.us.
  2. Click “Join a meeting” in the top menu bar.
  3. Enter the meeting ID or personal link name.
  4. Click “Join.”
  5. You will be placed into the meeting.

Using Zoom’s feature in class

Even if you’ve used Zoom for video calling, you might not be familiar with all the features available for learning and collaboration! Get to know these features you may be using in your class sessions.

Annotation tools

If your teacher has enabled annotation, you can draw, type, or stamp on a shared screen or whiteboard as part of the lesson. Click View Options at the top of the screen, then choose Annotate, which will open up the toolbar. Follow your teacher’s directions for using the annotation tools with the lesson.

Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms are a fun way to meet in smaller groups separate from the main Zoom session. Sometimes, you may be assigned to join a specific Breakout Room, and other times, you may be able to select which Breakout Room to join. If your teacher allows you to self-select a room, click the Breakout Rooms icon at the bottom of your screen and select from a list of open rooms. Your teacher may send directions to your room or enter the room at any time to check on your group.

In-meeting chat

Follow your teacher’s directions when using the in-meeting chat panel. Your teacher may ask you to type questions or share ideas in the chat, or you may be able to send a message directly to the teacher if you need to share something private. Remember to be respectful of your classmates while chatting, and follow any classroom rules!

Nonverbal feedback

Click the Reactions icon at the bottom of your screen to use nonverbal feedback, which will allow you to communicate with your teacher without disrupting the class. You can raise your hand, indicate “yes” or “no” by using the checkmark or X icon, and even ask your teacher to speed up or slow down their lesson using the forward or back arrows. 


Nonverbal feedback is persistent, meaning the icon will appear on your video until your teacher clears it. If you selected an icon by accident and want to remove it, simply select it again.

Polling

Your teacher may use polls for virtual pop quizzes, trivia games, status checks, and other interactive lessons. When a poll is launched, it will pop up in a separate window from the Zoom session — all you need to do is select your responses. Your teacher will be able to see the individual responses of everyone in the class.

Reactions

If Reactions are enabled in your classroom, you can use them to express yourself without saying a word! Choose an emoji reaction to pop up on your video panel to show your excitement, cheer on a classmate, or show love for a topic. You can even choose your reaction skin tone.

Screen sharing

Your teacher may allow you to share your screen as part of the lesson. All you have to do is click the Share Screen icon in your meeting controls, then choose to share a specific window or your entire desktop (your teacher may have specific instructions for what they want you to share with the class). Note that your teacher can enable or disable screen sharing during a class, so you may not always have this option available, or you may have to request permission.

Virtual backgrounds

Virtual backgrounds can be used for fun, but they might also help you feel more comfortable turning on your camera by masking your real background. Your school may have branded backgrounds with their logo, mascot, and colors, or your teacher might ask you to choose a themed background based on the lesson. To change your virtual background, just click the arrow next to your Start/Stop Video icon at the bottom of the screen and select Choose Virtual Background.

Accessibility

You can take advantage of Zoom’s accessibility features to meet your individual needs and make the most out of every Zoom session. Here’s how we make Zoom accessible for students with different needs:

Keyboard accessibility

Use keyboard shortcuts to easily navigate our features with just your keyboard.

Screen reader support

We follow the latest accessibility standards to help make Zoom accessible to the latest screen readers. You can also use screen reader alerts to play custom notifications for specific actions.

Closed captioning and live transcription

Zoom’s Live Transcription feature automatically provides captions, or schools can use a third-party closed captioning service. You can also anonymously request to enable Live Transcription in a class or meeting.

Multi-pinning

Use multi-pinning to customize your view — this allows you to pin an instructor and sign language interpreter, for example.

Parent tips for supporting students

You want your student to have the best educational experience possible, whether they’re learning in an in-person, remote, or hybrid environment. Here are a few ways you can help set up your student for learning successfully with Zoom.

Check your internet

If you have internet at home, here are a few ways you can help improve your connection so your student can access Zoom.

  • Have your student set up their device near the WiFi router or access point, if possible.
  • If your WiFi connection is poor, connect to your router using an ethernet cable.
  • If the video keeps freezing, your student can turn the camera off to improve quality.
  • Watch this video for more tips on how to improve your WiFi at home.

Set up a learning space

If possible, help your student set up a learning space where they will join their Zoom class every day. This can be in their room, in the kitchen, living room, or anywhere else in the house.

  • Try to find a quiet place without distractions like TV or lots of people coming and going. 
  • If your student is sitting in a noisy environment, help them turn on the Suppress background noise feature in Audio Settings.
  • Look for a well-lit area, or use a lamp set behind your student’s computer to light their face. If needed, you can help them use the Adjust for low light feature in Video Settings.
  • Try to have your student use a table and chair, instead of sitting or lying on the floor or in bed.
  • Be mindful of your student’s background environment. Help them set up with a solid wall behind them, or they can use a virtual background if it’s permitted by their school.

Check out our blog from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) for more tips on how to support your student with virtual learning.

Learn more

Visit the Zoom Blog for product updates, how-tos, and helpful resources for using Zoom in the classroom and beyond.