Shortcut to Success. Eight hotkeys making Zoom classes a breeze

Are you a victim of cumbersome cutting and slow screen switches in your online lessons? Perhaps you’re doing lots more clicking than you need to. And I’ve got some simple solutions to mute the madness.

There are a vast number of hotkeys in Zoom, each with its own very particular function. I’ve picked out the eight hotkeys that have made my online lessons a great deal smoother and more efficient, enabling me to move seamlessly around an activity and from one part of the lesson to another.

Please note: Windows hotkeys/ Mac hotkeys

Windows + shift +s or Alt + Shift + T: Snipping tool and screen shot

Imagine you’re doing the mannequin challenge (striking a pose to represent something (eg. an emotion), taking a screenshot, having students guess what’s being represented) and you want to remember it for posterity or use it to create a story project. You’re going to need to take a screen shot. I tend to use the snipping tool which is windows + shift +s. I find this useful outside of the class as well as you can screen shot your chosen area of the screen and not simply the whole lot, which makes it great for creating materials too.

Alt + H/ Command()+Shift+H: Toggle chat box

Something I have learnt is that the chat box is the biggest silver lining to come from confinement. I used to get really aggravated when I was teaching a class and to open up the chat box I had to get all mousey. As soon as I discovered Alt + H life became an awful lot easier and chattier.

Alt + N/ Command()+Shift+N: Switch Camera

Switching between your cameras and, thus, your groups is an absolute must for hybrid classes. Switching between cameras can be pretty tricky when you’re mid flow. If you’re on the Zoom screen a quick tap of Alt + N will switch between camera. Remember to stop sharing your screen for this function to work.

Alt + S/ Command()+Shift+S: Start/stop screen share

When you’re in your Zoom room remember, death by PowerPoint is just as bad when you’re at home as it is when you’re there in person. The best way to avoid this is to simply take it down when you’re not using it. The simplest way to do that is to simply hit alt + s

Alt +Tab/ Ctrl+T: Switch from one tab to the next

Switching tabs within a call can be especially useful when you’re sharing your screen. You don’t need to fiddle about with the mouse looking for a new share, you can simply flick between your screens. It’s important to remember than when you are sharing your screen you select share screen and not just one program. Alt + tab is also incredibly useful outside the confines of a meeting as its functionality remains the same.

Alt+ M/ Command()+Control+M: Mute audio for everyone except the host (only available to the host)

Free Icon | MuteIn your role as the teacher or meeting leader there are times when you need everyone to be quiet. Unlike a normal classroom, one of the benefits of online teaching gives educators the power to make everyone quiet at once. I’m pretty sure my wife wishes she had one of these hotkeys for me.

Alt + A/Command()+Shift+A: Mute me

If you’re giving your students their time to shine, take a step back and mute yourself. This function is also particularly useful when you have an activity set up between two hybrid groups. If you want to keep the online students in the dark about something, simply hit alt + a. If you want them to be really in the dark see alt +v.

Hold Space: Temporary unmute

Here is a little trick I tell my students at the start of the year. As they’re going to spend a while muted, if they need to interject simply hold down the space bar. It avoids any clicking and of course that awkward moment when a student has been speaking for 30 seconds but they’re still muted. If you train yourself to use the space bar to speak, you’ll never be kept quiet.

Alt + V/Command()+Shift+V: Start/stop video

Last but by no means least the video key. Now this is far less common in classes as you tend to want your students to see you. I always use this function when I’m sharing a video. I take the camera off to avoid distractions, but it also gives me the chance to rearrange my surroundings. This always gives my students an extra reason to pay attention when the camera turns back on as they will be set to task to find out what’s changed.

If you’d like to see these different shortcuts in action, have a watch of this video demonstration:

Then, try out the hotkeys in your next online class: we all know the best way to learn is to do!

Thanks for your time stay safe and… happy hotkeying.

You might also be interested in: 

Life hacks for online teachers 

Teamwork is dreamwork: pushing the boundaries in breakout rooms

 Zooming Around: 17 Tried and Tested Activities for Your Online Classroom



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