What actually happens on Zoom, Teams and Meet – connecting, in a deeper sense

Becoming physically connected can sometimes be hard. But when we are; how to know if we are mentally connected? Here is a post based on listening to teachers sharing unusual stories on what at this moment seem to be ongoing. It´s about what actually could happen when we run Zoom, Teams and Meet. Really connecting.

In my country, Sweden, a Facebook-group called “distant education” has become pretty big – all countries have Facebook-groups like that. It has grown a lot during Corona-times. Reflecting a bit on what is posted on chat-rooms like that can teach us a lot.

Here is what I have found…

Suddenly, just because of us becoming digital, we can start to get a glimpse of whats really going on in class-rooms.

Yesterday, a teacher asked for “funny/odd/unexpected stories” on what has happened during digital meetings/lectures with students. Experiences one not necessarily would imagine has happened in real life was shared.

Well, you have already heard, or experienced yourself, some of the stories. People forgetting to mute their voice when they go to the bathroom. People in meetings just wearing their underwear. Friends and others, like pets, not the least cats, intervening during a session etc.

These comedians have already made something fun out of that. Observe in particular what happen to the virtual background after three and a half minute.

However, it´s also seriously interesting to hear these kinds of stories. They give us insights on a student’s real life.

It is well known from marketing how easy it is to say, but how difficult it is to achieve: “if you want to be successful, you have to understand your customer”.

Now we can start to understand them in a deeper sense.

I´m also fairly convinced that similar events is happening in industry at this moment, if not before – Skype and other tools have been around for quite some time now.

Imagine the following. A corporate digital meeting with hundreds of people. The boss is presenting. Suddenly someone, but with no face shown, forget to mute their voice while sharing openly what he thinks is actually happening. He talks to his wife that happen to be in the same room. “Our boss is just lying, all the numbers he shows us at this moment are not right…”

Has this happened? Well, you tell me.

An obvious thing to reflect on is this: when all of us are working remote, we also have a tendency of showing our homes towards each other when at a digital meeting.

Our private life now “intervenes” with our working life in a different way.

Will there be fewer business suits sold the upcoming years? Will our offices have to become more personal the upcoming years in order to make us accept even going to office? Will the division between work and private life be even blurrier than it already is?

Is it actually something more similar to “old-fashioned home-schooling”, but with digital tools, we nowadays provide students with?

Teachers are now in their students home. Students are in their teachers home.

A particular story in this Facebook-group captured my attention. It was a student that was frying an egg for breakfast, at the same time as participating in a digital meeting. After a while, other students that had joined tried to convince him to smash an egg in his own forehead before putting it in the frying pan. Finally, he also did. Everyone laughed.

Egg-roulette is actually a game. Even Tom Cruise seem to enjoy it.

Of course, this story could have been about bullying. Social phenomenon we find IRL can also be found in the digital space.

But, when I read the way the story was presented by the teacher, I did not get that impression. I got the opposite impression. The teacher added a smiley while telling it.

It was also a story told in a stream of other funny stories shared. And the chat related to it did definitely not indicate bullying. Instead it indicated a student with a desire for pranks, other students enjoying it, and a teacher appreciating it.

Another story this teacher shared was about the student that joined a digital meeting as late as 13.30, arriving one hour late, and apologizing for having overslept. Also that story was shared with a smiley besides.

I believe this teacher had a good mental connection with her students.

We should not forget: People even being willing to share their personal life with someone else could be a compliment. People doing things like this can really be an indication of an open and nice mental connection previously built up between a good teacher and her students.

Well, of course this story could also be a sign of a student not caring at all. Not caring if a teacher is seeing something a teacher normally perhaps would/should not see. But still, when I read the story, I did not get that impression. Instead I got the feeling that the teacher was “involved” here, somehow, and; in a nice, non-bullying, way.

Sometimes feelings can outperform an advanced digital tool. They can track things not even Google Analytics can help out with.

Being mentally connected often goes way beyond being digitally connected.

Observe, closely, what is actually ongoing when using tools like Zoom, Teams and Meet. They are unique tools, available today, that probably can help us to learn far more about “teaching” and “learning” than ever before.

Share this post. Make sure that great teachers are honored.

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