Zoom is a videoconferencing software. In a Zoom videoconference call, you can speak online using voice and video.
I've been using Zoom for the past five years. I regularly hosted videoconference calls for my previous company, Sadhana, and I became quite familar with its features. I also use it to meet with clients all over the world for business coaching and yoga instruction.
Zoom is similar to other videoconferencing tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts, but the calls are more stable. It's the stabilty of the connection that really makes the difference between these other options. The software has a number of tools that are useful for business meetings, but it has become popular for yoga teachers because of the realiability of the connection.
I love Zoom. I've purchased a lot of software products over the years as I've gotten in promoting and marketing online, but Zoom is the one that I feel is essential to my business. It is the closest thing to being together in a room.
You may be using a Skype corporate account or Microsoft Teams at work. Those software programs are very similar to Zoom.
Zoom can be used for both videoconferences and webinars. A videoconference is more informal, like a virtual meeting. A webinar is usually where there is a presenter and the rest of the participants are muted and can only communicate by chat. Generally a webinar has more people on the call (upwards of 100). Webinar software has more tools to manage the onine participants.
Most yoga teachers purchase the Zoom Pro plan, which is for videoconferences. For one thing, it's a lot less expensive - around $15 a month, compared to $50 starting price for the webinar version. However, if you become popular teaching online, you can upgrade your account to the webinar versions if you need to and still keep the same account.
Zoom has a bunch of different kinds of applications. You can download the app to your phone and run your class from your phone. You can download the software to your computer and run the call from there. You can also login from a web browser.
I have the app on my computer, and my phone, but I usually run my calls from my browser (Chrome), because I like the layout of the online version better. There are some extra features in the app, though. I usually do not use those features, though.
Your students do not need to have their own Zzoom accounts to access the meeting. They just need to click a link that you send them. A little program will install and they will open right up into your online yoga class.
It depends what is most important to you. Phones generally have better cameras than computers. Computers usually have better microphones and you can see your class participants better on the bigger screen.
Desktop computers don't usually move around as easily as laptops and make it more difficult to set up the room for teaching, but you can definitely run the program on a desktop. If you want to use a desktop, make sure that it has a camera. Some desktop computers do not have them. In this case, you will need to purchase an external web cam.
You can actually have multiple devices of your own in a meeting. For example, you can have your phone as the main host of the meeting that is being recorded, and then join also with your laptop into the meeting. With this setup, you can have the great phone camera image, but also set up to view all of your students on the screen of your laptop.
I run my yoga classes from my laptop with an external microphone. I use a Windows Surface Book - I love this computer. Two thumbs up.
In this course, i recommend not to purchase either a microphone or a camera for your first call. Keeping a simpler setup at first helps to simplify the work of getting online for the first time. And, most modern computers and phones have excellent cameras and microphones designed for ease of use. If you get an external device, you will have to learn its settings.
Phone cameras are so good that you likely will never need any other camera - and video quality is not as important for this live format of video because the Internet connections generally can't stream a very high quality video anyway, because video files are so big, and get bigger as the quality increases.(Don't believe me about how good phone cameras are? Go to YouTube and look for a video compaing your phone to a DSLR camera.)
You may want an external microphone but wait until you get a few calls under your belt so you can figure out what would be best for you. The kind of microphone you need depends a lot on your recording environment. First figure out where you will teach before investing in a mic. I'm happy to help you decide what you need.
Purchase the A Little Help With Zoom session with me if you want help figuring out the software or what to purchase. I love to help.