Choosing which video conferencing platform to use

There are many different video conferencing platforms and apps available. You can decide which one will work best for your parish in general or for your particular group.

CHOOSING A VIDEO CONFERENCING PLATFORM

There are many different video conferencing platforms and apps available. Some of the common platforms include: Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Hangouts, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Whereby, as well as the new video conferencing options in Facebook (Messenger Rooms), WhatsApp, etc.

Sycamore does not recommend or endorse any particular platform.You need to decide which one will work best for your parish in general or for your particular group. It will depend on many factors: ease of use, cost, familiarity to your parishioners, etc.

To see some of the options and the pros and cons of each platform you can read these articles:

Best Video Conferencing Apps (from “Wired”)

Best Video Conferencing Software (from “Tech Radar”)

Messenger Rooms in Facebook, WhatsApp etc (from “About FB”)

Our main advice is: keep it simple. Don’t try to find the perfect solution. Find something that works. It needs to be something that is easy to explain to people in your group. Many parishioners are unfamiliar with video conferencing so ease of use is a big requirement, otherwise it will put them off.

  • If the host is showing videos via “screen sharing”, then make sure your platform can do this. (See the page about how to watch the films remotely.)
  • Test the platform with non-technical friends and colleagues so you know that it works and you know how to use it well as a leader. Eventually, you and your team will need to explain things to the participants. Make notes about what you have learnt.
  • Create a “cheat sheet” for new participants, to help them log in easily and understand the platform. Make sure you include the features you will be using as a group.
  • Decide how you will actually let people into the group: Will you require registration and passwords (to avoid any unwanted visitors), or just a shared link to join (can you share this link privately with those who have pre-registered)?
  • Be careful to protect the group from unwanted/malicious visitors. It is not good practice to share an open video conferencing link via a public invitation. To avoid this you can share the link only with registrants; or use the registration option from within the video conferencing platform (you can have registration questions to filter people, and manually approve people); or use the “waiting room” so people are let in manually by leaders.

 

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