You might have the best virtual meeting lesson plan ever written, but it won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if your students can’t hear you or the media you play for them.
Having a good microphone like a Blue Snowball or a FiFine condenser can make you sound better (mostly by eliminating echo and static). Even without an external microphone you can sound better by making a couple small settings adjustments in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
Zoom Sound Improvements
There are two changes that I make to the default Zoom settings to make sure that my students can hear me when I speak and can hear videos that I play in meetings. First, I change the background noise filter to “aggressive.” That setting is found in the “advanced” menu in the audio settings next to the microphone icon in your Zoom meeting. Here’s a video of how to make that change.
The second audio setting change that I make in Zoom happens when I’m showing a video. The change that I make is to playback computer sound instead of microphone sound. That setting is also available in the “advanced” audio settings. A video of how to change the audio playback settings can be seen here.
Microsoft Teams Audio Improvement
Microsoft Teams recently got a new background sound filtering option. It’s very effective for getting rid of distant background noises like a dog barking as well as close background noises like rustling papers or typing. You can enable the background noise filter in the devices menu within the settings menu for your meetings. Mike Tholfsen put together a great demonstration of how well the background noise filter works. You can see that demonstration here.
Google Meet Audio Improvement
Google Meet doesn’t offer an adjustment for filtering background noise, but there is a setting you can adjust to make videos and shared audio a little easier for your students to hear. Instead of sharing your entire desktop or an entire window, share just the tab that contains the video you’re playing for your students.
Professional Development Opportunities
I am currently offering A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video and Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know. As I teased last week on Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff, I’ll have some new offerings in January.