New Zoom Apps — Wonder Tools

How to add timers, docs, whiteboards and more to your Zoom meetings

Welcome! Today’s post highlights new ways to do more with Zoom. In case you missed it, last week I wrote about new highlighting tools for remembering and sharing the best of what you read online. And I recently answered reader questions on the best ways to launch a site & make a travel video.

In this Wonder Tools post:

  • ✍️ 9 New Zoom apps for improving online meetings

  • 🖼 3 Steps to Use Zoom Apps

  • 🎨 Alternative online meeting tools


9 useful apps to add to Zoom

You can now download apps for Zoom to make meetings more productive. Rather than just staring at big faces, you can spotlight a document you’re working on. You could already share your screen previously. But now with Zoom apps, the shared material stays inside your Zoom interface. There are special apps for teachers, events—even games. Here are the apps I find most useful.

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How to use Zoom apps

  1. Browse the apps to find ones you want to try. Some apps require you to request approval from your organization’s administrator, if you have a company Zoom account.

  2. Once installed, you’ll find your Zoom apps in a little “drawer.” It opens up when you click the new “apps” button on your Zoom dashboard

  1. Once you open up an app, you can click share to begin screen sharing the app you’re using. If you’re going to use the app repeatedly together, you also have the option to send the app to others in your meeting to install on their own Zoom. Sending the app itself isn’t a good idea if you’re in a one-off meeting, because it will take a few minutes for everyone to install the app, distracting from your session.


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Beyond Zoom: alternatives for hosting better meetings

Zoom apps are handy for adding interactivity, but they don’t change the fundamental look and feel of Zoom. I was actually hoping they would be built deeper into Zoom than they actually are.

If you’re Zoomed out and want a bigger change, consider other meeting tools that place a premium on activities and engagement. The ones I like most include:

  • Butter.us is handy for teaching. Or running workshops. People may be surprised at first not to be on Google Meet or Zoom, but Butter let’s you add slicker breakout rooms, timers, agendas, notes, a conversation queue, reusable rooms and lots of other useful features.

  • Around.co is tops for one-on-ones and small group meetings. Blocks extraneous noise; smaller, less distracting video; shared note-takes emailed afterwards. I prefer this for my personal meetings these days.

  • Gatheround sparks fun small group conversations by foregrounding creative discussion prompts. It’s great for small group networking. I’ve enjoyed several events I’ve been to on Gatheround.

  • Use mmhmm to creatively customize how your video looks on Zoom or other meetings. Despite its zany name it raised $100 million(!) last month. The CEO joined me on a recorded Zoom to show some of mmhmm’s features.

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Join me for this Friday, August 20 at 12pm ET a virtual Open House for the Journalism Creators Program I direct. Applications are open now until August 29 for the fall cohort. I’ll be joined at this week’s live event by alums of the program. We’ll talk about their experiences building new journalism ventures and what it’s like to learn in a 100-day fully online program.

RSVP for the Open House