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.
Zoom Timer ⏲ Keep your meeting or class running on time with a timer that everyone sees. I find it helpful for class sessions, panels, or events where you want to allocate speaker time fairly.
Miro or Mural 💻 Encourage collaboration by opening up an online whiteboard. Miro and Mural both let you share a link and/or share your screen, giving everyone access to a live collaboration space. Here’s why these whiteboarding and brainstorming tools are so useful.
Coda 📑 Create a collaborative document. Coda is like a next-generation Google Doc. In addition to text and images you can add embed Web content. Or add interactive buttons to your doc for voting on topics, dates or ideas. These can be helpful during live Zooms.
Kahoot 🎯 Play a quiz game. Or create poll questions. Kahoot is one of the best-designed interactive apps and works wonderfully over Zoom. The game Heads Up! is another fun Zoom app you can use for a short meeting break.
Grain 📺 Share video highlights from a Zoom meeting. I’ve found Grain super handy. Just drag your cursor to highlight notable text on Grain’s transcript of your event recording. It then creates a video clip of the section you highlighted that you can share on social or in an email or Slack. Here’s an example — I selected a few video highlights from a Zoom event to create a Grain “story.”
Lu.ma Set up a landing page for any Zoom event or meeting. Luma sends reminders for you, which helps increase attendance. If you want, you can use it to collect ticket fees and to gather event feedback afterwards. I use it for almost every event I host on Zoom. Here’s a Lu.ma example: an open house event I’m hosting Friday.
Calendly or Mixmax Include a Zoom link automatically when people book a time to meet with you. I use Calendly every week to let people pick open times on my calendar. Mixmax is a Gmail add-on I’ve used for years that lets you send invite links to people. (I use it less now that I’m using Superhuman). Both tools set up Zoom meeting links for you automatically when people pick times you’ve offered. The link then gets shared with your meeting partners.
How to use Zoom apps
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.
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
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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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.
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.