A few months ago you were quite something – but mostly quite something that Fortune 500 companies, management consultants, international businesswomen and tech dudes did. Born in 2011, massively profitable in 2019, you certainly moved fast. Z by name and Z by nature. Now, everyone seems to be talking about you – and through you.
I’ve got used to your sign-on routine; learned the rules of engagement. Using you for work has become second nature in these days of remote working. For me, work is school. You’ve rapidly become indispensable to us: teachers can teach; pupils can learn. Pastoral care in remote is so much more meaningful if you can see you tutor group; your year group; your housemistress. Headteachers can do the mysterious things we do: and we do love a meeting. I can host and attend meetings to my heart’s content; keep in touch with colleagues across the country who are facing the same questions that I am; I can connect across the world.
Through your neatly-squared gallery, families and friends are quizzing, celebrating, catching-up, checking in, keeping an eye out for each other. What greater service can you offer than a means to connect people in these disconnected times?
Yet, your detractors (rivals?) called you malware. I’ve been called plenty of things in my time, but never malware. That must hurt. Seriously, we did need to check this out and put sensible risk assessments and safeguarding measures in place for use in schools. This is to protect children and teachers alike. So, we use your excellent record facility for all our live lessons, for example. Everything is open to misuse, but we think what you can help us do is well worth the carefully mitigated risk.
Teaching works well enough if the lesson is well planned and the teacher throws endless energy at it. We’ve found that short and sweet is better. And don’t try to collaborate: you seem to work best in a formal, bilateral, conch-holding kind of way.
The main thing you’ve given us is a way of keeping in contact face to face. For those of us who live and work in boarding schools, the sense of community, the reality of being together, these are the things that fuel our purpose. Inevitably, these times in remote have pushed us apart. You help us to be together apart.
Overall, I’m a big fan: a convert. Like most things in life, you work best in moderation. Thank you, Z…. You’ve been a revelation.
Thank you, Video-Conferencing App Beginning With Z. Now, it’s ‘Leave Meeting’ from me. I need to catch some screen-free Zzzzzzs.