Guidelines for using live video with students

Can teachers use live video conference with students?

Yes, teachers can use live video conference with students with cameras enabled, but must not record students. Live recordings are not permitted (with the exception of language oral examinations).

Recording of live videos are permitted, but only if individual students cannot be identified. Students and other persons in a student’s household cannot be filmed/ recorded during the lesson without consent. To protect the privacy of everyone in every household joining the live lesson, only record segments of the lesson in which all student cameras and microphones are deactivated.

To protect the privacy of other members of the teacher’s household, the background should be blurred or a standard backdrop should be used for pre-recorded and live lessons. This is to reduce the risk of them being filmed accidentally without their consent.

Live recordings for language oral examinations are permitted (see section on doing language (oral) examination online).

Which platforms can be used for video conferencing?

The following platforms have been approved for live video: MS Teams, Zoom, Google Meet as well as Adobe Connect (for legacy instances only).

These platforms have been tested by the department and some functionality such as live recordings and one-on-one chats have been disabled.

See Which platform should we choose? in the full guidelines for a breakdown of the differences between the available platforms.

More information on the key platforms and communications methods available to teachers in the digital classroom, as well as techniques, online learning dispositions, ‘how to guides’ and links to on demand professional learning, can be located on Learning from home.

When should live video conferencing be used?

There are academic, social and wellbeing benefits for students in using video conferencing software to communicate and collaborate online with their class and teachers when learning from home or from a remote location. In remote learning situations, the use of video provides an experience closer to the conventional face to face classroom environment.

Not all students or teachers will be able to connect to live video due to limited internet service or access to digital learning devices. In these instances, alternative methods such as regular telephone calls, the use of asynchronous and low bandwidth alternatives such as chat messaging, posting pre-recorded video within platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom, or email communication, are strategies that will enable teachers to stay in contact and maintain engagement with students and their families.

Are chat sessions (video or audio) with students allowed?

Whole class or group sessions are the recommended format when using online video, audio or chat. Teachers should not conduct 1:1 video, audio or chat sessions with a student.

Where a confidential discussion with one student is required, teachers should ensure a parent/carer and another teacher are present.

When audio chatting with a group of students does a parent or other adult need to be present?

No. Parents can help their child set up devices, but should not join any group/class chats being moderated by the teacher.

There may be exceptional circumstances where this is required, for example as a reasonable adjustment for a student with disability. This should be agreed prior to group/class chats are held and be part of the student’s learning plan.

Do not leave students unsupervised during or on completion of audio chats and live online session. Teachers should close the session or wait for all students to exit the audio chat or online session and then close the session/meeting to all students and or participants This ensures that students do not continue chatting unsupervised after the online session has concluded.

Can teachers use breakout rooms in live video calls?

The use of breakout rooms is not permitted during a lesson, as a teacher will be unable to supervise students in different rooms at the same time. If a teacher believes it is necessary to use break out rooms this should only occur with the prior approval of the principal or by ensuring supervision of each breakout group for the duration.

Do different rules apply when online video connecting with high school students?

No, the same rules apply to both primary and secondary students.

How should teachers deal with a disciplinary or child protection matter that occurs during an online video lesson?

The video conference room is a school learning environment with the same expectations of safe, inclusive and respectful behaviour. Students must be reminded that the video conference room is a virtual classroom and the same school behaviour and discipline policies apply to this environment, as they would in a regular classroom, and students should be advised of the consequences of this not occurring. Acceptable standards of behaviour must be enforced.

Most video conference platforms will enable the session host to remove participants if needed, or put a participant on mute. These options should be exercised in response to unacceptable behaviour from a student or parent also.

Promptly report any issues or incidents of concern, including unintended sharing of confidential information, to the principal.

Do these guidelines apply to distance education teachers and students or hospital schools?

No, distance education teachers and students and hospital schools operate under different protocols. These guidelines are for schools that are temporarily operating in a learning from home model.

How can teacher and student privacy be protected during video online sessions?

MS Teams, Google Meet and Zoom have the ability to customise backgrounds either by blurring the background or loading a static picture.

If you are using Teams or Zoom you should ask all students to blur or set their background to an appropriate static picture at the beginning of the lesson.

Is it compulsory to upload videos to reach teaching and learning requirements?

Pre-recorded lessons and live sessions can be helpful, but they are not compulsory. Teachers communicate with students in many ways, including sending home hard copies of work. Principals and teachers at a school should agree on a consistent school-wide approach wherever possible, noting reasonable adjustments may need to be made for individual students with disability.

More information on how to pre-record video or audio content can be found on Learning from home.

Who decides whether and how a school will use video conferencing and which platform?

After considering the needs of the students, teachers and the school community, the principal must decide whether teachers can use video conferencing software as an online synchronous tool for teaching and learning and should consult with their DEL if in doubt. These guidelines should align with the digital device’s procedure developed by the school. For further advice on how to stay safe online, visit the department’s Digital Citizenship website and the eSafety Commissioner website.

Download the full guidelines

Download a copy of this information as well as more detailed guidelines on privacy, security, wellbeing, and the capabilities of the different platforms available to department schools.

Guidelines to support schools using live video with students (PDF 268KB)


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