Overview

We’ve designed Outschool to be easy to use and accessible, and you do not need any specific software to use the platform. Most importantly, you’ll need a web browser and internet connection, which you already have if you’re reading this article! Read on for specific technical guidance for having the smoothest experience on our platform.

The Outschool Website

Outschool is designed to work with all major browsers, including:

  • Google Chrome

  • Safari

  • Firefox

  • Microsoft Edge

In general, we fully support the two latest version releases of these browsers, and we recommend turning on automatic updates to ensure you’re on the most recent release of your browser (you can also check your browser version to see if there are any updates). For example, if the newest version of Chrome is 70.0, Outschool will support 69 and 70, but not earlier versions. If you are using an old version of a supported browser or a fully unsupported browser, images may not display properly on the site, among other issues.

We understand that certain users may not have access to these browsers, but please note that performance may not be optimal outside of the specifications detailed above.

Ad Blockers and privacy extensions

Third-party browser extensions (such as AdBlock or Honey) may interfere with the functionality of the Outschool website. That said, most plugins offer the ability to exclude specific sites so they can operate without interference. If you use a browser with one or more third-party extensions installed, we strongly recommend that you add outschool.com to its list of permitted websites (this setting will look different for each plugin).

Using a VPN (virtual private network) or firewall within your network may also impact the use of Outschool and Zoom. We recommend turning those off while using Outschool for optimal performance.

Live Online Classes

Most Outschool offerings are live online classes that meet over Zoom video conferencing. For safety reasons, we require learners in live classes to share their video with each educator at least once so the educator can verify your learner’s identity. Although not required, we encourage learners to keep their audio/video on for the rest of class to create a more social experience.

Your learner(s) should be using a device with a microphone and webcam for live online classes. Most laptops, tablets, and phones have these built-in, but older computers may have them as separate attachments. If your learner does not have access to a webcam and microphone, they will not be able to join live Outschool classes, but you are welcome to participate in our Flex Classes, which do not include live meetings.

While educators should use a laptop to teach for more features and better classroom management, learners are welcome to join class using a tablet or smartphone. Each learner should access class with their own individual device.

For a high-quality class meeting experience, you’ll need a reliable internet connection. We recommend a minimum speed of 3Mbps for both upload and download to reliably run Zoom. You can test your internet connection speed at speedtest.net or fast.com. If your internet connection speed is below 3Mbps, you should try to find a location with a faster connection, or work directly with your internet provider to improve speed.

Please note that the above section applies only to Outschool class types that require live meetings, not Flex Classes or Groups.

Using Zoom

Zoom video conferencing works with many types of devices and operating systems. If you don’t already have Zoom installed on your device, you’ll be prompted to download it when joining a live Outschool class for the first time. Read more about Zoom’s system requirements on their support site.

If you are new to Zoom or the Outschool platform, we strongly recommend testing your device before your first live class. Use Zoom’s “Join Meeting Test” link to verify that your device can run Zoom meetings.

Families located throughout the world are able to use Zoom, but there are a few restricted countries and regions for regulatory reasons. See Zoom’s official up-to-date list of unsupported countries.

Supported Zoom versions

You can only access live classes with Zoom version 5.6 or greater installed on your device. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of Zoom, as it includes fixes and improvements to the quality of class meetings.

Zoom version 5.8.6 allows you to automatically keep your Zoom app up to date, ensuring you are running a supported version. From Zoom Settings, check “Automatically keep my Zoom up to date” and select the best method for you to get these updates (Slow or Fast, as seen in the image below).

Additional Guidance from Our Team

Keep your tech up-to-date

For optimal Outschool performance, your device should always be up to date and running the most recent operating system version and device drivers. Updates include critical fixes for the security and stability of your device.

If your device is no longer supported by a new system update or a patch that you cannot install, you should use a different device to support the latest version.

Limit your use of additional apps

When using Zoom for a class meeting, we strongly suggest that you only run the Outschool platform and any other necessary applications for class. If you have other applications or websites open, even if they are minimized or within a tab you are not viewing, they may be using system and network resources that will affect the quality of the meeting. For example, an application may attempt to download a new update or a messenger tool may be downloading a large file sent to you, slowing down your device.

Supported Hardware

We work hard at Outschool to ensure that our platform (and Zoom) works well on as many devices and operating systems as possible. However, we recommend the following device specifications for ease of use.

  • Laptop or desktop computer, ideally a Mac or Windows product within 5 years of age

  • A Chromebook with at least 4 cores for reliable audio and video

  • An iPhone or iPad within 5 years of age and running iOS 14 or greater

Chromebooks

If you are joining a live Outschool class via Chromebook, you’ll need to download the Zoom for Chrome PWA (Progressive Web App) in order to access your class and utilize Zoom’s features. Get started here by installing the current version of Zoom for Chrome - PWA to your Chromebook.

Virtual Machines

We do not recommend using Outschool on a virtual machine that you may be using to simulate a different operating system (eg. VirtualBox). The platform has not been tested in a virtual environment. Instead, please only use your physical computer to access Outschool. If you are using a virtual machine, we cannot ensure quality site performance or technical support.

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