By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Zoom. Skype. FaceTime. Facebook Messenger. All these videoconferencing applications can be hard to keep straight, let alone know how to use.
Martha Wolf, a junior at Oxford High School and member of the National Honor Society, recognized these programs can be overwhelming to learn. In an effort to serve the community and keep people connected with their loved ones, especially during these trying times of the pandemic, she started a passion project with several fellow NHS members to create video tutorials of major videoconferencing platforms on various devices.
The videos are posted on YouTube and geared toward anyone who struggles with technology or simply wants to try a new videoconferencing service. Independence Village of Oxford will be showing the tutorials to their residents, but Wolf believes other people outside that specific community could also benefit from the videos.
“I decided to do this project to combat the loneliness and depression caused by isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Wolf said. “I have personally felt these effects, and the issue has worsened especially among the elderly, as many cannot see their loved ones out of health concerns. Senior citizens and those not as skilled in technology are also at a greater risk of feeling alone if they do not have access to or dexterity in the teleconferencing platforms that have become so common today.
“My grandparents live extremely far away, and this past year we have seen each other even less. However, we have started connecting over teleconferencing platforms and greatly enjoy being able to spend time together, and I wanted to help others, specifically those not comfortable navigating online or who want to try a new platform, do the same. The videos from this project help the community stay connected, as well as increasing people’s technology skills, during the difficult times of the pandemic.”
Josh Budden, the NHS adviser at OHS, praised Wolf’s initiative. “First, I have to say how much I respect and appreciate Martha. She’s such a caring and thoughtful person. The (NHS) chapter officers and I loved this project as soon as Martha proposed it. We all kind of tilted our heads and thought ‘what a wonderful idea! Why didn’t we think of this before.’ We were unaware of the need and Martha, being the person she is, once she was aware of it, decided to act and rally the rest of NHS to help.”
There are 28 videos in all, covering the same platforms across various devices like computers, iPads, Androids and Chromebooks. “The best or easiest platform to use ultimately depends on what an individual wants to do or how they want to do it,” Wolf said. “In general, Google Hangouts and Duo, Facebook Messenger, and Facetime work great for a quick one-on-one or small group meeting, while Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet are best for a scheduled or larger gathering, such as for a holiday celebration.”
Here’s a link to the channel if you would like to check it out: bit.ly/oxfordTT.
By James Hanlon