Since the beginning of the pandemic digital learning has become huge part of your child’s life. This has been a huge adjustment for teachers, students, parents, and tutors. Trying to navigate all of the technology can seem overwhelming. Two of the most commonly used free video call tools on the market right now are Skype and Zoom. At Finishline Tutoring we hold our online tutoring on Skype. Understanding this platform and how it compares to other video calling platforms can help you understand why we choose this platform and why it is the more efficient option for your child’s learning. This article runs through some of the pros and cons of both of these video call services, and will hopefully make your decision a little easier.
Zoom VS Skype Features
Both Zoom and Skype are actually very similar when it comes to their functionality. Both offer a high quality, and reliable service. Both video call services boast a wide range of easy to use features such as:
- HD Video and Audio
- Screen sharing capabilities
- Team chat
- Built in collaboration tools, such as screens hare annotation
- Call recording
- Video call transcription
- Phone in capabilities
- Ability to join calls within singing-in
Obviously there are also some key differences between the two platforms.
Skype VS Zoom: Scalability
One key differences between these two video calling platforms is the ability to hold large capacity video calls. On the low end Skype only allows a video call to hold up to 50 participants. This might seem like a lot of participants for one call but Zoom on the other-hand allows you to host up to 1,000 people on one call. But one great advantage to Skype is that it’s a good option for smaller classrooms and groups and 1-on-1 sessions. When hosting a small group each of those participants will be able to join via video call, which allows the instructor to keep a close eye on all of the students during a tutoring session. Even though the student and tutor are not in the same space for the session doesn’t mean they can’t get the same learning experience via online, and Skype allows for this really well.
Now if we were trying to teach more than 50 students at once, Zoom would be the better option. As mentioned before, this software can host up to 1,000 people, including up to 49 video call participants. This works ideally for large scale classrooms like college classes. We don’t need to host lectures with a large group of students so this feature isn’t geared to what we do.
Zoom VS Skype: Privacy
Recently there have been some issues raised about Zoom’s privacy. There have been issues regarding people ‘Zoombombing’ sessions, this is when an uninvited guests join a Zoom call. Now as a way to tackle this issue, Zoom has created a waiting room feature that allows users to screen who enters the video call. While this feature is a great way to keep unwanted guests from joining, it can be tiresome having to monitor everyone that is trying to enter the video call. Especially if your video call is holding 50 plus people this can take a while to get through each time you need to start a video call. Also if you have a few late comers join the call this can be distracting while teaching.
As a way to tackle this waiting room issue, Skype allows users the ability to set who has to wait in the waiting room when they join a call. Admin’s have the option on whether they want to screen everyone, or only allow certain people to join a call. So if the same student or students are joining a tutoring session then the admin/tutor can have the call set to only allow these people into the call. This saves time and lowers distractions from any late comers.
Zoom VS Skype: Room for Distractions
Zoom gives users the ability to add virtual backgrounds, meaning they can add a picture behind themselves during a zoom call. While this has been a fun feature for students and teachers to use that adds a personal element to the call it can also be a huge distraction. This feature can easily cause students to become distracted during a class if they are focusing on each others backgrounds and not the instruction happening. However, this is not a feature that Skype offers. This helps keep the students focused more on the lesson and tutoring session and limits some distractions.
Zoom VS Skype: Pros and Cons
Other than the above mentioned key differences, here are some other pros and cons for both Skype and Zoom.
- Free and very easy to use
- Many people are already familiar with the software
- Compatible with lots of operating systems both desktop and mobile
- Offers instant messaging service saves messages and files for up to 30 days
- Has a great user guide which answers lots and lots of different questions
- Integrated real time language translation
- The free version offers up to 100 hours of video calls a month
- Skype has a variety of pricing models.
- You can access calls straight from your browser without having to download any sort of software.
- The audio calls are reported to not always be great quality
- Seems to cause difficulties on lower spec devices
- The service is free
- Simple intuitive software which is very easy to start using
- Compatible with all operating systems, including mobile.
- Gives admins ability to monitor meetings, such as mute/unmute users, and control who is let into a call using the ‘waiting room’ feature.
- Zoom boasts great customer service, operational in multiple time zones, so if you are having issues it is easy to get in touch with someone about troubleshooting.
- Zoom has lots of different packages and price points, meaning you can find the option that works the best of you.
- You need to download an app to use zoom, and cannot just access if from a browser
- In the past there have been questions raised about how secure zoom is.
- The free version can only host 40 minute calls at a time, with 100 participants.
- Some of Zoom’s extra features such as the virtual backgrounds may be distracting for students during lessons.
While it can be difficult to truly judge the difference between Skype or Zoom, the better option for our online tutors is Skype. This is primarily based on our requirements and what we are using them for. We hope this answers any questions and helps you feel a little more familiar with the process.