Breaktime Buzz: ooVoo

Breaktime Buzz: ooVoo

Our series for staff in schools and colleges exploring what’s trending in the world of apps and social media, helping you find out what’s popular in the classrooms and corridors around you.

What is it?

ooVoo is an app that allows users to video or voice chat with up to 12 contacts at once. It can also be used to send text messages. It is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, as well as PC and Mac.

How does it work?

Users set up an ID and password (or login with Facebook) and can then start connecting with others through the app. Friends can be added to a list of contacts using their ooVoo ID, Facebook, Twitter or Gmail, or by accessing the contacts on the device. Users can set a profile picture, choose a display name and make an ‘ooVie’ – a video moment attached to your profile that all your friends can see.

From the friends list you can choose who to video or voice call, or send a text message. Once on a call, up to 12 friends can join in, and you can send text messages during chat to add to the conversation. Video calls can also be recorded to relive later (on PC only). The app tracks all your activity so you can look back through previous messages and conversations.

The ooVoo app is free, and it is free to call or message other users (although the free version has ads – a premium membership is available which removes them). ooVoo can also be used to call landlines by purchasing credits.

What do people use it for?

According to the ooVoo website, its users are primarily under 25, and use the app to socialize and have fun with their friends. This distinguishes it from Skype, which has many of the same features, but is generally used more by older generations and in business.

Unfortunately there have been reports of younger users being targeted on ooVoo by adults sharing inappropriate content. If privacy settings aren’t configured correctly then it is possible for any user to begin a conversation or video chat, whether they are known to the recipient or not.

What could it mean for your school or college?

As with most apps of this kind, to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act the minimum age for users of ooVoo is 13 – keep an eye out for younger pupils using it.

There are possibilities for using ooVoo as an educational tool – perhaps group homework where pupils can get together using the app and collaborate on work outside of school hours. If they’re already using the platform why not harness it to encourage group cooperation over homework projects? Obviously, if you decide to encourage your pupils to use ooVoo, make sure they have their privacy settings set up correctly so that they can’t be approached by strangers.

Try it for yourself

Download via ooVoo’s website

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