Technical Requirements and Helpful Information βš™οΈ

Requirements:

Zoom:

  • Zoom will be our platform for videoconferencing. It is not necessary to have a Zoom account in order to join a meeting; however, the first time you join a Zoom meeting, you will be prompted to download the software (Zoom Desktop Client) to run it on your computer.
  • In order to join a Zoom room during this tournament, simply click on the link for the room you would like to enter.
  • Here is a brief orientation video for using Zoom: Zoom basics

Google Account:

  • Each debater must have a Google account. Consumer gmail accounts are free and easy to set up. If you do not already have one, please view this quick tutorial How to set up a gmail account and get one set up for this tournament. If you need to learn how to use Google docs, here is a Google Docs Tutorial. Speech-only students do not have this requirement.

Email and Phone:

  • All participants must have a working email account where they can be reached before and during the tournament. Please double check to see that your email is working properly and that it is listed correctly in your registration.
  • Before and during the tournament, we may need to contact you by phone. Please make sure that your correct phone number is listed in your registration. If you are a student and have your own phone, please include that in your registration as well if that would be the best way to contact you.

Internet:

  • All participants must have stable and high bandwidth internet connections that permit real time videoconferencing.

Access to electric supply:

  • All participants should ensure that their videoconferencing device is adequately powered to last the entire round without interruption. We strongly recommend leaving your device plugged in at all times while competing.

Helpful Information and Tips:

Internet Connection

The #1 technical concern everyone has about competing in a virtual tournament is internet speed and bandwidth. Here are some helpful suggestions to deal with this issue:

  • The first thing you should assess is your Internet speed. Here is a link you can use to test your speed and find out more about what your test results mean: Speed Test
  • Here is some useful info to help you figure out what your speed means:

*Internet Speed: 25MBps = 1-2 supported users, basic speed
*Internet Speed: 100Mbps = 3-4 supported users, average speed
*Internet Speed: 200Mbps = 4-5 supported users, fast speed
*Internet Speed: 500Mbps = 5+ supported users, very fast speed
*Internet Speed: 1000Mbps = 5+ supported users, Gigabit (extremely fast)

  • If your internet speed is concerning, here are some ideas about what you can do:

1. Make sure your computer is close to the wireless router. Sometimes moving a router closer to where you will be using your internet can make a big difference. Try testing your internet speed at various locations in relation to your router.
2. Plug your computer directly in to your router using an ethernet cable. This connects your computer directly to the source of your internet and eliminates the instability that sometimes comes with Wifi.
3. Check to see that you don't have numerous other devices connected to your Wifi at the same time you are needing maximum speed. Items to check and possibly temporarily unplug are gaming consoles, unused smart devices, wireless security cameras, etc.
4. Check your computer: How long has it been since you last re-started it? Do you have numerous windows open? Do you have programs running in the background that are hogging your internet speed? Do you need to clean your cache or hard drive? (There are numerous products you can use to assist with such cleaning).
5. Contact your internet service provider and see if you can upgrade to a faster plan.

  • If you have exhausted these options and still do not have adequate internet connectivity, consider purchasing a hot spot. They are reasonably affordable and are handy to have when traveling too. Search "mobile hotspots" or "Mifi" online to find out about options.

Other tips for a positive virtual tournament experience:

You have many factors to consider with a virtual tournament that you do not have with an in-person one. Here are some things you will want to consider:

1. Positioning of your body in relation to your camera: am I close enough to be seen well by my judges but not too close? Have a friend or family member sign on to a Zoom meeting with you (you can set up a free account to set up such meetings) and test various distances.
2. Does my device have a good quality microphone and camera? If not, you may choose to wear wireless headphones with a good mic and/or upgrade to an external camera.
3. How is the lighting in the area where I will be competing? Is it bright enough to be flattering without dark shadows around my face?
4. Here is a video that will help you with several presentation aspects of performing online: Presenting yourself on Zoom. Not all of this information will apply to homeschool speech and debate, but the technical pointers are helpful.

Finally: You have put so much time and effort into your speeches and debate cases. Be sure to also invest some time in making sure you have a good internet connection and that you have learned as much as possible about how to present yourself well in a virtual environment.