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I don't understand this debate about whether or not Zoom is banned in the US. The statement itself is absurd. Education in the United States differs on a district by district basis. Everybody is supposed to be teaching Common Core, but how each district implements the plan is different. And you also get independent-minded teachers doing their own things.


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The way I see it, there are two types of "privacy" concerns with Zoom. The more visible one is: to my understanding, before the crisis, Zoom was primarily a business tool, and users likely had little to no issue with external people infiltrating meetings and showing inappropriate content ("Zoombombing"). Once the public masses converged on it, there was an overall lack of understanding of *using existing features* to ensure privacy - such as password, waiting room, locking the meeting, disabling non-host screen sharing and annotation, as well as, uh, not posting your meeting details on the public internet.

I figure that individual organization decision-makers (note: different from "the entire country") thought it was easier to *ban* it outright rather than teach people how to use it properly. I personally prefer not to use waiting room and wish I could un-default that, but Zoom has rightly deemed it more important to user-error-proof the software.

The other issue is what does Zoom do with your data, security of their servers to unauthorized access, fears about it being a Chinese company, etc. I'm not that knowledgeable about those kinds of background stuff that aren't visible to the typical end user, but I just don't see it as being any more or less risky than things like: using a Google account, Apple, smartphone, etc.

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My employer has banned Zoom, but understandably some of our conversations are sensitive. I've never tried it.

Same for Google Hangouts.

We have some corporate approved systems but with everybody online bandwidth has been a problem.

My yoga class yesterday was on Instagram Live, and it kept freezing. Last week it worked fine, maybe it's the increased load as more people realize the class is back.


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Zoom is widely used for remote college/university teaching, as well as K-12 districts, apart from some particular ones mentioned in those articles.

My understanding is that all video conferencing tools have potential vulnerability to bad actors, but that reasonable security measures can minimize the risk. I do now use the waiting room, but I think it's probably overkill, since there is also password protection and the link goes only to students.


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I enrolled in an adult group class at a local conservatory once a week from Jan - May. Due to the C-19 outbreak, our group had a 3-wk break until the conservatory contacted everybody by Email that all the teachers will connect with the students at the same time each week through Zoom. I don't think anybody had an issue besides downloading the software and joining the class at the appropriate time.

When it comes to online security, after shopping on Amazon or eBay we all get targeted ads featuring similar items. Do people find it a security issue? No. On Facebook there must be thousands of people with their security setting on [Public] meaning their birth dates, locations, workplaces, schools attended, the names of their friends and associates would all come up. A lot of young people probably use Fb like a dating site letting everybody know they are always available. Is this a security issue? Definitely. Do people feel it is an issue? Definitely not...

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IF you use the protocols that Zoom had already established months ago for private meetings (email link, waiting room, authorized users only, locking the meeting once everyone arrives... and all of these are just a click/check of a box on the "set up a meeting" page) then you should have no security issues.

Idiots with too much time on their hands tried to find unsecured meetings (like AA support groups that are meant for "walk-ins") and ZoomBombed.

Just like there are more car break-ins now, with so many cars just sitting around not going anywhere, dumb people are going to try and poke around and stir up trouble in their version of fun and games.

A classroom, let alone a private lesson, should be very easy to establish.

My private school sent us how to information, and we even Zoomed amongst ourselves to make sure we were all set up.

The IT guy (that I know personally) said that high school students tried to change their screen names to silly stuff. There is a way to lock names.

It's like back in the day when the seating chart was re-arranged to confuse the substitute. Just, modern version of it now, on-line.

Anyway, I Zoom several lessons daily.

It can be draining (look up Zoom fatigue) and after the meetings/lessons, I write up an email of what to do for practice and homework. The students do mark their pages, but I feel I have to write it out. It takes longer, but I am getting results.

I've been happily surprised that practicing has improved!
Not so much because the kids have more time now, but because the parents see my assignment emails and realize how much I ask the student to do.

Before it was, "I asked them to go practice, and they claim they did everything in the assignment notebook".

Now it is, the parents actually see all what has to be done weekly, and are actually checking what is getting done!

As for my set-up, I use this laptop I'm typing on now as my primary. I set it up on my piano (with a cloth to protect the piano) and this is where I look up to make "eye contact" with the student. I then have a long block of wood hovering over the middle of my piano, with an ancient cell phone poised to be the camera for about three octaves worth of keys (especially good for my littles that need to see close-up fingerings and keys and positions) Next, I have an even older laptop on a side shelf that shows my side for wrist lifts and all 88 keys.
Most students show a raised side view so I can see their hands, and their profile.

I also have copies of all their books and music. And theory. that has been a lifesaver!

"turn to page 23 in Tech/Artistry and let's work on lovely legato starting at measure 16"
"I am going to pin your camera to full screen while you hold up Theory page 34 and I will check it now"

Just cannot do accompaniment. However, their counting out loud has never been better! "Can't" do it for them because of that weird delay thing. So they HAVE to do it! Yay!

But, I will happily give up my Zoom Studio for back to real life.


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Are people charging the same for online lessons? Reason I ask is I've had one student ask what the cost would be. Others I've been charging the same price as in person no problem.

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My teacher is charging the same. I never thought to ask. I just send a check each month.


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Colleges are charging the same for Zoom lessons, and now there's a class action lawsuit.


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I’m paying the same for Zoom lessons and glad to have what I can get. I want my teacher to still be in business, not starved to death or without a roof over her head, when we can at last resume in-person lessons!


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College is such a complex situation that I don't entirely disagree with some of the rationale. You attend a physical college not only to gain the instructional content but to experience life on the campus, access specialized resources, network with people, etc. I think the case is especially clear-cut when a school offers a program both in online and in-person format and already had a precedent of charging less for online.

For lessons, how much of the "value" is the content and how much is the experience? Even if you had a top-notch studio setup with multiple high-end grand pianos? (that is the closest comparison I can think of to "specialized resources") Online lessons require a lot more work on my part to prepare and deliver meaningfully (as in, not merely babysitting via the screen). Right now I'm not charging more or less than before, but for example, where younger siblings were previously sharing lesson time, starting summer I will be charging for siblings as if they were full students because they are getting what a full student in a separate family would be getting.

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I'm in adult group class. Don't think anybody in the group have any security issues at the moment. The Winter music session that started in January to May is ending this week. Some of us paid for another month of additional lessons through Zoom.

When you're on the computer, you get some conveniences with a few clicks like recording the teacher demonstrating a piece in real time so you can hear the tempo, dynamics and other nuances in his/her playing. Having a get-together once a week through Zoom doesn't seem a big deal. Even when the city is starting to open up, the local conservatory may not open its door until September at the earliest. This is the way we decided to connect 2 months ago and we're stuck with it at least until September.

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I stopped taking online lessons at the moment (my internet is just to slow for that and was almost impossible to do anything other than a low quality video conversation) but when I did take them, I was wondering whether a student should expect, for the same rate, something more than a phone camera or a laptop cam on the teacher side. What I mean by that is maybe at least an external mic or more than one camera. My teacher was using the iMac integrated camera and mic... which is less than ideal. Combine that will a slow connection and it didn't work very well.
Of course, flip that around, and the teacher would also be entitled to at least request a better sound in order to do his/her job.


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Originally Posted by mostlystrings
For lessons, how much of the "value" is the content and how much is the experience?

Not to go further off on a tangent...but my primary care physician (PCP) and their entire office switched to telemedicine.

What the heck??

How are they going to test my temperature? Blood pressure? Check for symptoms that you have to hear or feel? They can't run tests of any kind over Zoom. At best they can ask me how I feel, or ask what I have been doing. That's it. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of misdiagnosis is going to happen over this platform.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by mostlystrings
For lessons, how much of the "value" is the content and how much is the experience?

Not to go further off on a tangent...but my primary care physician (PCP) and their entire office switched to telemedicine.

What the heck??

How are they going to test my temperature? Blood pressure? Check for symptoms that you have to hear or feel? They can't run tests of any kind over Zoom. At best they can ask me how I feel, or ask what I have been doing. That's it. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of misdiagnosis is going to happen over this platform.

Don't you have to get devices to check temperature and blood pressure at home? They will still see the people they need to and do tests etc, they're just pre-screening whether there's actually a need to do that so the doctor's office isn't clogged with people they're just going to send home to rest, drink water and take Tylenol.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
. . .

How are they going to test my temperature? Blood pressure? Check for symptoms that you have to hear or feel? They can't run tests of any kind over Zoom. At best they can ask me how I feel, or ask what I have been doing. That's it. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of misdiagnosis is going to happen over this platform.

There's an interesting video of a test of telemedicine in an Israeli hospital, to monitor quarantined patients who are recovering from Covid-19 (or are suspected of having.

A hospital employee drops off a box of testing stuff at the patient's door.

The patient dials up a video link to the doctor, who supervises her activities as she uses the test gear. (You don't need a doctor to take your temperature, or your blood pressure.) He asks how she's doing, and decides that she's still improving and should continue to self-quarantine.

My wife just had a tele-appointment with a skin specialist, about something on her eye.

[indent]"Put your phone up, so I can see what you're talking about .. . a little higher . . . it's almost certainly not cancerous, but I should take it off and do a biopsy. Call my office for an in-person appointment."[/indent]

So you can't _treat_ with telemedicine, but you can (within limits) do tests, and make some progress to a diagnosis.

Video is wonderful.

There are now heart monitors (at "consumer electronics" prices) that will upload their results to a cardiologist's office. Life is changing.


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
. . .

How are they going to test my temperature? Blood pressure? Check for symptoms that you have to hear or feel? They can't run tests of any kind over Zoom. At best they can ask me how I feel, or ask what I have been doing. That's it. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of misdiagnosis is going to happen over this platform.

[....]

My wife just had a tele-appointment with a skin specialist, about something on her eye.

[indent]"Put your phone up, so I can see what you're talking about .. . a little higher . . . it's almost certainly not cancerous, but I should take it off and do a biopsy. Call my office for an in-person appointment."[/indent]

So you can't _treat_ with telemedicine, but you can (within limits) do tests, and make some progress to a diagnosis.

Video is wonderful.

There are now heart monitors (at "consumer electronics" prices) that will upload their results to a cardiologist's office. Life is changing.
Do you get to subtract the cost of your smart phone, the blood pressure monitor, and the heart monitor from the doctor's charges?


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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Do you get to subtract the cost of your smart phone, the blood pressure monitor, and the heart monitor from the doctor's charges?

For the same reasons, I'm not going to force students to continue with piano lessons over Zoom. It's just not the same as in-person lessons. In fact, it takes more work on my part (more time to set up, etc.), and the student is getting less than in-person lessons. It's a lose-lose situation.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Do you get to subtract the cost of your smart phone, the blood pressure monitor, and the heart monitor from the doctor's charges?

For the same reasons, I'm not going to force students to continue with piano lessons over Zoom. It's just not the same as in-person lessons. In fact, it takes more work on my part (more time to set up, etc.), and the student is getting less than in-person lessons. It's a lose-lose situation.

My kids are doing it, and while it's not nearly as good as in-person lessons, I do see the value: they are accountable to someone outside the home for their practice time, the teacher can make sure they aren't developing bad habits, are playing at appropriate speed etc, and they can learn new repertoire and technique and keep advancing. Plus I get a break for the time they are having their lessons - yay!

The RCM is offering exams over Zoom and one kid is doing that. THAT will be interesting to see.

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We had spring recitals, and now several have signed up to continue over the summer, still over Zoom!

I have had to change a bit in how I teach- I watch hands more closely, instead of a glance. I ask more questions, and have them read out loud to me more. It takes longer to type out their assignments, but...

more work is more consistently getting done.
Students have to count out loud for themselves (delay is annoying if I count for them!) so they are better at it now! yay!
can't "help cover over them" with a duet so they are better at phrasing and dynamics.
parents are reading my assignment emails and communicating with me more, and realizing that piano lessons are not just and only 30 minutes once a week.
I am another adult that is invested in their child. they can trust me.

The tech I am using is items I had at home- an old moto x phone, wi fi only, and a laptop that has a DVD side insert from years ago.

Yes, its not ideal, but it can be done.


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