“Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to . . .” paid accounts (to teach ESL online)?

Any adults who have become parents or otherwise worked with young children in the past 20 years, will likely be familiar with that “earworm” of a song, “Zoom, zoom, zoom; we’re going to the moon.” Small children everywhere (or so it seems) have been singing (sometimes shouting) the lyrics, while playing, eating, and—well, pretty well everything else. Often children sing these words at a pace double or triple that of the YouTube video (above)!

Did you miss the “Zoom” song? Consider yourself lucky, as it has “earworm” potential rivalled only by “Baby Shark, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” and the Muppets’ classic ditty (that no one has ever really understood), “Mah Na Mah Na, doo doo da doo doo” (capitalization, original).  But I digress.

The rest of the world envies you, if the “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom song” song has escaped your ears and mind. Consider yourself blessed!

Of course, the word “zoom” itself (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) historically has meant “to move or travel very quickly.” And certainly the online meeting software, “Zoom.us” is a platform that “very quickly” connects individuals across the globe, after they take a few short steps. “Zoom” has connected millions of people professionally and personally through Covid times.

Covid has made it especially urgent that entrepreneurs and learners of all kinds meet via online platforms, such as Google Hangouts, FaceTime, MS Teams, Skype, etc.,  and other custom-made software platforms that many companies use.  But for my teaching and meeting purposes, I’ve found that Zoom outperforms most  if not all of these.

As a certified ESL instructor with about a year’s experience teaching online, I frequently rely on Zoom to meet my students (of all ages and areas of specialization) from around the globe. Some of these meetings have lasted only 30-40 minutes. Others have run over one hour. 

Even if my interviewees haven’t known the platform, Zoom is so user-friendly and intuitive that most of them have run with it, from the start. It is true, of course, that you need a webcam and a microphone (built into most small devices, these days) to use this software. (And it needs to be said that for ESL students who are refugees or other newcomers to Canada and who find themselves short of funds, the cost of tech equipment and  software subscriptions can be prohibitive.)

Even prior to working as an online ESL teacher, I used Zoom to record interviews with various people for writing projects, such as for the 30th anniversary of the local Praxis School of Entrepreneurship (PSE).

So, for more than two years, then, I’ve thoroughly benefited from using a “basic” account on Zoom: meeting anyone one-on-one for an hour or longer was totally free and seamless.

Then recently, Regina tech consultant Brandi Good, of BLG Business Solutions, burst that bubble by warning Zoom users over Facebook that effective May 2nd, 2022, Zoom would impose a $20/month charge to “basic” account holders even for one-hour, one-on-one meetings (i.e. not to be cut off after a new 40 minute limit). The next level above the free (“basic”) account would be the “Pro” ($20/month to subscribe to).

Zoom explains its policy here:


A paid account on the “Zoom” platform will not quite take you “to the moon” (as the song goes, although space tourism with the likes of Elon Musk and Richard Branson are trying), Zoom is (imho) the best online meeting software out there and is intuitively designed for those who lack technical prowess.

Zoom has received a lot of messages from users (including me) complaining about the new charge. As a PR strategy, the company initially offered a small, temporary discount (now passed), so that subscribing to a “Pro” account this week cost only $10/month (until November 2022, when the cost will double).

For those of us on budgets, the situation is disappointing, but we all know that in this digital age, subscription fees for software are to be expected. Revenue from advertising was Zoom’s earlier way to pay for our free accounts. Now the company wants more. Inevitably, other online meeting software companies will follow suit, if they don’t already charge.

So, as the children’s song has it, we just may have to get “onboard” Zoom’s “Pro” account rocket, if we want the work we do, to ignite off our launch pads:

“Zoom, zoom, zoom. We’re going to the moon! Zoom, zoom zoom. We’re leaving very soon. So if you’d like to take a trip, come aboard my rocket ship. Zoom, zoom, zoom. We’re going to the moon:

5, 4, 3, 2, 1: BLAST OFF!”


And now it’s your turn. What do you think about the costs of subscribing to tech software for pandemic friendly teaching and meetings? Please weigh in; I’d be delighted to hear from you!