District switches to Google Hangouts after Zoom privacy concerns

By Grace Cueter, Staff Reporter

As schools around the world are transitioning to online schooling, most are turning to Zoom, an app that allows teachers, students, board members and more to connect through video chat. While Zoom is the most popularly used site, Grosse Pointe Public Schools have expressed their privacy concerns with the program, and are instead allowing teachers and students to meet through Google Hangouts. 

Christopher Stanley, Director of Instructional Technology, says that there are features offered through Google Hangouts that are not offered through Zoom. 

“There are many privacy concerns,” Stanley said. “As well as concerns on data collection that can make a school district uncomfortable to approve (Zoom).” 

During a Zoom meeting, anyone with the class code can join, which in many cases causes unknown users to join Zoom meetings they were not invited into. Stanley says that this privacy concern is not an issue when using Google Hangouts. 

“Google Meet offers more security features for our students,” Stanley said. “Teachers have the ability to control who is in the meet, and if someone outside the school district attempts to get in, it must be approved by the teachers.”

Stanley has been happy with the district’s use of Google Hangouts. He says the district has been able to use the virtual space to conduct board meetings, staff meetings and teacher/student meetings. 

“During these difficult times web conferencing has been extremely helpful,” Stanley said.