Video conferencing options and guidance for early learning services, schools and kura

Here is some information and things to consider when choosing the video conferencing tool to support your work. More information will be made available.

Google Meet


Any Google for Education, G Suite school, can use this for free. Setup is not required. The app can be downloaded for iOS and Android phones if preferred.


The Premium features that are available, are currently available until September 30, 2020.

Some of the premium features schools and kura can benefit from the most during this time include:

  • An increased limit of 250 participants per call.
  • Live streaming with an increased audience limit of up to 100,000 viewers within a domain.
  • The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.

Google Hangouts, which will return to being the default version from the end of June, can host 25 attendees.

For G Suite for Education customers: These advanced features will be OFF by default and can be enabled at the domain, OU, or group level. Please see the FAQ in the Google Help Center for additional education-specific considerations when enabling Meet and these features.

Google Help Centre(external link)

User guidance

Information and free workshops for new users and current users who want to upskill further can be found at the Google for Education Teacher Centre.

Google for Education Teacher Centre(external link) 

For information with live daily webinars by Google for Education NZ for Teachers and Schools as well as tips and tricks for distance Learning for New Zealand teachers and schools can be found on this page(external link)

Number of users

It can support up to 250 users until the end of June. After that, it will likely return to 25.

Worth noting

The integration with Google calendar for scheduling and launching meetings, and with Drive for creating, sharing and storing content aids ongoing collaboration.

Privacy and Security

Google’s privacy content is available on their website.

Google – privacy and security(external link) 

Hangouts Meet messages are encrypted in transit.

G Suite administrators can manage Hangouts Meet security settings.

It supports multifactor authentication (MFA).

Only the meeting organiser can see or approve requests to join a meeting.

Follow the guidance for setting up Hangouts Meet for distance learning(external link)

Set up organisational units in G Suite to customise services for different types of users in your organisation.

G Suite Admin Help – Apply policies to different users(external link)

Microsoft Teams


All state and state-integrated schools in New Zealand can access Microsoft Teams under the Ministry of Education Schools’ Agreement with Microsoft through the M365 A3 suite of tools. It’s available at no cost to teachers/students.


Teams has two distinct roles: presenter (teacher) and attendees (students). In a meeting, permissions are defined by these and it’s recommended schools consider setting students as attendees by default.

Microsoft Support – roles in a Teams meeting(external link)

For the best experience, you should use your school username/password to join a Team and run the video conference from inside the Team (class).

You can run video conferencing as Guests only however, some collaboration features are restricted when you only use Guest accounts.

You can also use the native Teams app (on Win10, MacOS, iOS, iPadOS, Android, Linux is coming), however you can join from a browser only and still use video/audio in most modern browsers.

Microsoft Teams – download the free app(external link)

User guidance

The following websites has information about using Microsoft Teams:

Get started with Microsoft Teams for remote learning(external link)

Microsoft Teams for Education free webinars(external link)

Microsoft Support – Teams(external link)

Microsoft Teams for Education quick start guide(external link)

Number of users

Microsoft Teams meetings support up to 250 attendees.

Worth noting

Teams integrates calendar view, phone dialler, file browser, and chat. It also provides screen-sharing capability, and content access and storage via OneDrive. All of which facilitate ongoing collaboration. This includes: 

  • Class Notebooks (external link)
  • utilising the full Accessibility features built into Office365 such as Immersive Reader, real-time captioning/subtitles. Class Teams provide special capabilities tailored for teaching and learning
  • Group Chat Software(external link)
  • Cross-platform support (Win10, MacOS, iOS, Android, Web Browser)
  • Meeting Recording (save into Stream with automatic transcription and search indexing)

Privacy and Security

Go to Microsoft website for information about privacy. 

Microsoft – privacy statement(external link)

As part of M365 A3, Teams is not a free product and Microsoft does not generate revenue from advertising or on-selling user details on products like Teams.

All Teams data is encrypted in transit and at rest.

Office 365 administrators can manage Teams security settings.

It supports multifactor authentication (MFA).

Users external to your organisation must wait in the ‘lobby’ until they are approved to join a meeting.

Follow Microsoft’s guidance for using teams for remote learning(external link).

There’s also best-practice advice(external link) for school leaders creating teams and channels in Microsoft Teams for Education. If your organisation does not have a ‘bring your own device’ policy, it’s strongly recommended that you block the downloading of content to unmanaged devices.



From 31 March this service has been auto-enabled for anyone in * link)

If your school or kura uses a different domain name, you will need to fill out a short form.

Zoom – school verification(external link)


Zoom is more of a standalone video conference tool. Compared to Hangouts Meet and the video conference in Teams, Zoom is not as easy to integrated with other teaching and learning tools used by teachers.

User guidance

Visit their website for information on how to ensure a safe and productive experience while using Zoom. 

Zoom – best practices for securing your virtual classroom(external link) 

Number of users

The free version can host up to 100 participants. 

Worth noting

Whilst Zoom does primarily focus on the meeting experience, the fact that it can be accessed from inside Google, Microsoft and Apple products means that it can still contribute to collaborative work beyond the meeting itself. 

Privacy and Security

Zoom privacy(external link)

Meeting passwords are mandatory in the latest version.

Meetings are encrypted in transit only. Text chat within meetings is end-to-end encrypted.

Allows paying users to determine the countries that their data is routed through.

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is supported for the web application.

‘Waiting room’ allows the meeting host to control when a participant can join a meeting.

It is recommended that you:

  • Update to the latest version of Zoom.
  • Only share meeting IDs and passwords with people required for the meeting.
  • Make sure the passwords you use are long and strong.
  • Lock the meeting after everyone has joined.
  • Avoid recording meetings where private or sensitive information is discussed.

Make sure the following default setting in the latest version of Zoom are retained:

  • Passwords are required for all meetings and passwords are required to access recordings.
  • ‘Join before Host’ is disabled.
  • The waiting room is enabled.



Jitsi is available for free to any user. 

Jitsi website(external link)


Other features are integrated with this video conference tool:

  • Sharing of desktop and presentations,
  • Ability to invite users to a conference via a simple, custom URL
  • Editing of collaborative documents together using Etherpad
  • Messaging and emojis during video conference, with integrated chat.

User guidance

Visit their website for information on how to use Jitsi.

Jitsi user guide(external link)

Jitsi also have a community forum for all kinds of discussions on Jitsi projects.

Jitsi community forum(external link)

Number of users

The number of users depend on server capacity and user configurations. Ten simultaneous users seems the lowest number that would be expected.

Worth noting

Jitsi is an open-source program and developer-friendly, so it can be modified and customised.

Privacy and Security

It is anonymous and can be used without an account.

It keeps conversations private with encryption by default (and advanced security settings).

Jitsi meetings are encrypted in transit however, they are decrypted on the machine that hosts the Jitsi Videobridge, which is installed on your own premises.

Big Blue Button


It is available for free to any user.

Big Blue Button website(external link)


There’s no download required.

Some of its features include:

  • Breakout rooms
  • Interactive, multi-user whiteboard
  • Live question & answer/polls
  • Document editing
  • Upload digital presentations (in formats like PDF, PPTX, ODP)
  • Play pre-recorded videos

Big Blue Button is hosted in New Zealand.

User guidance

Visit the following websites for information on how to use Jitsi:

Big Blue Button support(external link)

New Zealand Open Source Society for immediate help(external link)

Blind Side Networks website – Big Blue Button(external link)

Number of users

It can support up to 200 users at the same time.

Worth noting

It is hosted by Catalyst Cloud.

The New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS) is happy to work with educators to provide video conferencing on their own infrastructure.

Privacy and Security

Logins are not required for students.

Data is not stored overseas.


Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback