5 Zoom Tips for the Best Engaging Online Classes

Zoom, something that we all have unfortunately been spending far more time on than what we would like! However, now that we are spending so much time on it connecting with our students and running our classes we need to make sure we are doing it well.

Young people are extremely technology efficient, and if educators don’t keep up, you’ll find students’ attention and desire to be involved fade.  What may seem unimportant to you, for young people is make or break.

Over the past 18 months Burn Bright have become quite the Zoom experts. We have facilitated many school programs, the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australia 3 day 500 students Student Leadership Conference plus Perth College Leadership Camp from Sydney all via Zoom Meetings.

While we incorporate many functions into our Zoom capabilities such as external broadcast software, professional standard lighting, external sound boards and audio interfaces, these tips are NOT those! Whilst we’d be more than happy to offer some help and advice if you’d like, we thought we’d start with 5 things that every educator can implement TODAY to dramatically improve the engagement and quality of your own Zoom classes.

Turn chat on and off to minimise distraction and gain maximum engagement.

As educators we can use the chat function to our advantage – however the chat box provides a distraction at times. The last thing we want is to be discussing a serious or important topic while your students are busy chatting about the new Kanye West album about to come out. As the host of a Zoom meeting, you can easily turn chat on and off during and throughout the meeting. By clicking the security icon and unticking/ticking the chat option, you can turn it off and on as you please.

Turning off chat in Zoom Menu

Use the Spotlight feature for yourself & students.

 Using the Spotlight feature in Zoom is a handy function that pins a certain or multiple people for everyone. Using this feature allows you to Spotlight your camera screen for the whole group, but more importantly if you are asking a specific student or students a question or wanting them to share with the group you can add them as a spotlight too. To learn more check out this SHORT VIDEO

Are you streaming in full HD?

The people at Zoom are a little sneaky. First your account may not be set to have HD video turn on. If not, we recommend enabling HD video as this will dramatically increase your video quality and the quality of your class! Some accounts will also have the option to choose 1080P video – which if this is an option for you you should definitely take it! To learn how to turn on HD video take a look at this short video HERE.

Enable 49 Participants on Gallery View.

If you haven’t done this already, you definitely should. This will mean that on gallery view you will be able to see 49 participant windows instead of 25 and will be able to keep an eye on your students more effectively. Do note however, that this option is only available for if your computer is capable – so if you don’t see this option, please don’t spend hours trying to figure it out as if it’s not there it unfortunately isn’t a possibility for you on that computer. To watch a short video on how to enable this CLICK HERE.

Regularly check your internet speed.

Unfortunately, for some of us our internet speeds aren’t always regular and there’s nothing more off putting on a Zoom call than someone not being able to hear or see you clearly. It’s handy to regularly check your internet speeds before you have a Zoom call so that you can either reset your router or worst-case scenario, hotspot. While the official recommendations are a lot lower, we always try and aim for a minimum of 25Mbps download speed and 8Mbps upload speed. You can easily check your internet speed HERE.

If you found these helpful or would like to look into Burn Bright running an ONLINE 1.5 Hour Zoom Program with your students, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We understand that stay at home lockdown is challenging but we believe we can still have an impact on your young people’s leadership and wellbeing development.

Looking for Ways to Bring Energy to Your Classroom?

Maintaining an energetic environment in online classes is a challenging thing to do. Having some activities up your sleeve to keep the investment and focus of your students can be a game changer in creating a positive learning environment online.

Click here to get 5 easy-to-use activities that will energise your students.



Continue your student’s leadership or wellbeing journey with our digital programs. Specifically designed to be flexibly implemented into your wellbeing or leadership programs, these courses can be completed at any time in any place, providing a self-paced option for students to explore in class or on their own. These modules include individual student logins, a teacher dashboard to track student progress and lesson plans with follow up face to face resources.

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Facilitator in Laptop Screen

I found Burn Bright in the midst of studying civil engineering at the University of Wollongong, just as I wanted a richer, deeper, more full experience of life.

Through Burn Bright, I have met many students and volunteers who are all seeking to find their place in the world. When we come together at NLC or SLC, no matter our age, we begin on the same page, of wanting to do good for ourselves, our community, and the world. And then we are thrown into a program that brings us closer to each other, our purpose, and how to bring forth this impact. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

Volunteering with Burn Bright stoked a fire in me – It helped me feel comfortable in myself and made me realise life isn’t just about work, study, or productivity, but our relationships and how we connect with others along the way.

I have learned skills in videography, worked for a top-tier corporation in marketing, and most recently published a book called “18 and lost? So were we” 

I have a passion for storytelling, bring loads of energy wherever I go, and am dedicated to helping young people move through the initiation of leaving high school and going into the ‘real world’. 

The best part for me is being able to stay connected to the latest generation growing through high school. To see them grow, expand and express more of themselves is like watching an artwork paint itself. It’s magic.

I am Simon Thurston, a Kiwi based in Perth. I work as an Instructional Designer and in my spare time I enjoy reading, running, and board games.

Since my initial connection to Burn Bright I have been onboard with their mission. Burn Bright’s focus on building the capabilities enables students of all ages to see how they can shape their world through connections with others and their own self discovery.

Seeing others grow, learn, and open up is what keeps me coming back, to help others realise their potential and how they can influence their future and their community is a definite highlight. It’s infectious, the atmosphere when they run a program or camp is welcoming, exciting, emotional, and rewarding all in one.



Hi, friends! I’m Kelsie, a psychologist from central QLD working in private practice. I got involved with Burn Bright officially in 2016, but the journey started long before that. I attended the National Leadership Camp (now hosted annually by Burn Bright) in 2009. It had such a profound impact on me that I returned as a mentor and volunteer. Those connections ultimately lead me to joining the Burn Bright team as an adult.

When I transitioned from facilitating with the Burn Bright team to working as a psychologist, I was so grateful for an incredible foundation of skills (particularly facilitation, communication and interpersonal skills) along with a strong grounding in positive psychology that Burn Bright integrates into their ethos.

I can’t imagine my life without volunteering for Burn Bright. I have met some of my dearest friends through the Burn Bright crew. I’ve found that volunteering for BB is rewarding, humbling, and often brings as much personal growth for the volunteer as it does for the young person.

From a professional perspective, I love that Burn Bright programs/camps support the adolescent individuation process by providing an exciting and supportive environment for teens to explore their own sense of self, personality, identify and values alongside other young people.

Imagine this POV: you’re back at school wanting to figure everything out and fit in – and you find
yourself in a room with amazing music that uplifts you and hooks you in. You meet the team of
dynamic, interesting, caring facilitators whose own friendships inspire you. Their facilitation skills bring about amazing light-bulb moments and lessons that light a fire inside you… It makes me want to feel that for myself again. The next best thing, for me, is volunteering for the team who passes that on to other young people.

My start at Burn Bright is one of the best cases of one door closing and another door opening. After losing my job at a local pub while on uni holidays, I started looking for new opportunities that were different and decided to volunteer. Searching for opportunities, I found working bees, community driving and nursing home visits, but the chance to become a National Leadership Camp intern stood out. Over nearly six months, I worked with the team to pull off Burn Bright’s first National Leadership Camp, and had an absolute blast in the process. After camp, I started working for Burn Bright while studying, doing anything and everything — data analysis, hiring strategy and even picking up furniture.

Finishing up working for Burn Bright in 2019, I am still actively involved with the Burn Bright volunteer community. I’ve found that the emphasis placed on investing in your relationships, understanding your values and making an impact allow you to be accepted for you. This has given me the tools needed to make the difficult decisions that life will inevitably throw at you. Besides all that, I’ve had a ton of fun and formed life-long friendships with people I may have never crossed paths with otherwise. “Get involved — you’ll change your life for the better and make life‑long friends in the process”.

I am a health science student from Perth wanting to get into the mental health realm of occupational therapy. In the meantime, I work as a barista and supervisor at a beachside café. In my spare time, I love to play netball, be around my friends and I have just gotten into crocheting. I went to Perth College where I was lucky enough to go to the first Perth College Leadership Camp in 2018 as a student and absolutely loved it. What really drew me in was the atmosphere that was created, the open conversations, and the lasting relationships formed.

Since then I have been a mentor for the Perth College Leadership Camp in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and had the opportunity to go to the National Leadership Camp in 2019. When Burn Bright comes to Perth I also love helping out at their programs as much as I can.

Volunteering for Burn Bright has given me so much that I could never have imagined. I have learned so much about myself and I have so much more confidence in myself and my abilities that I know I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t exposed to the amazing opportunities volunteering for Burn Bright has given me. Before being involved I would never have seen myself being a mentor, role model, and facilitator to students, but now I can confidently say that I am, and I have made an impact on others that I am proud of. I have also made so many meaningful connections to so many amazing people from all around Australia through Burn Bright. I get asked quite a bit why I keep coming back to my old school to volunteer and it’s simply because I was given this amazing opportunity to be a part of the Burn Bright programs and if I can help facilitate that experience to someone else then why wouldn’t I?

I was born in Perth and moved to Sydney in my early 20’s to continue work as a youth worker and surfboard maker. This was followed by 30 years working in IT as a computer programmer.

Following retirement in 2016 I searched for an organisation that was aligned with my values of servant leadership and service, especially in the youth space. This search led to Burn Bright where I am now volunteering one day a week and mentoring at the National Leadership Camp. Volunteering with Burn Bright gives me a great deal of hope and confidence in the next generation of leaders. It is a pleasure to be a part of the Burn Bright family.

I have been married to Denise for 41 years and we both very much feel part of the Burn Bright team.

When not at Burn Bright you may find me running along Manly beach, riding my mountain bike or indulging in my passion for photography.











Hi! I’m Rosie, a 20-something full-time public servant, part-time Tassie tourism advocate.

I am passionate about seeing young people succeed, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching them become the next generation of change-makers.

I have been a champion of the ethos and work of Burn Bright since its inception in 2014, and consider them to be the leading experts in their field. By delivering impactful leadership and wellbeing programs to students across Australia, they offer the knowledge, skills and engagement to invoke lasting positive change in school communities.

The Burn Bright team are dedicated, inclusive and values-driven, which is why I love working with them.