In my previous post I highlighted a method of using the video conference software Zoom to quiz pioneered by a group of Youth Bible Quiz leaders to complete their 2020-21 season. Using that as a template, I looked for other methods of "buzzing in" remotely that were much more consistent and reliable to ensure the legitimacy of the results. If the quizzers don't trust the system, they will soon lose interest and their competitive mindset. What I found was an extremely simple system called BuzzIn.Live. Here is how it works and compares to the other method of using the Zoom chat to "buzz in":
For the Zoom Chat method, each quizzer will need a device with a camera and log in to a Quizmaster's Zoom room. To buzz in during the reading of a question, the quizzer uses the chat function to send their assigned number. If multiple students buzz in at approximately the same time, the order as listed on the Quizmaster's chat screen determines who buzzed in first.
Pros: Simplicity. Everyone is using Zoom.
Cons: Chaos if everyone doesn't mute their line except when they want to speak. Not everyone has access to a device that can run Zoom or the internet signal strength and speed for a video call. When using the chat function on a mobile device, the user loses the video feed of the Quizmaster. When a quizzer buzzes in there is no audible cue to tell the Quizmaster to stop reading. But most importantly, internet speed and connection latency plays a HUGE role in the sequence of near-simultaneous jumps in the Quizmaster's chat box (see below).
The "BuzzIn.Live" Method
BuzzIn.Live is a free web site for the quizzers. Each student will need a device with an internet connection (WiFi or cellular) and log in to a Quizmaster's game using a pre-determined code. To buzz in, the quizzer presses a big green "BUZZ" button. Simple. The Quizmaster (host) of the BuzzIn game hears a beep and sees who buzzed in. The Quizmaster can lock and unlock the buzzers just like in a quiz match. If the quizzers of a local church are together, they can use the coach's laptop for the Zoom video call.
Pros: The system adjusts for each user's internet latency to improve accuracy (see below for the statistics). No need for each quizzer to stream video (if local teams are gathered at their home churches), so internet speed is not as critical. If one computer is streaming the video of the team, then the coach can manage the mute function and ensure the team moves from one Zoom room to the next. The Quizmaster gets an audible alert when someone buzzes in.
Cons: Works best if the quizzers are not also streaming Zoom on a mobile device. If a team cannot get together (and socially distance) for the quiz meet and share a single Zoom feed, then BuzzIn works best if the quizzer has Zoom on a laptop and BuzzIn on a mobile device or a second browser window on their computer. Limited to 8 players for the Free Tier. However, a 1-day access to the Premium Tier is only $0.99 and allows for 200 players.
Zoom Chat vs BuzzIn.Live: Reliability and Repeatability
(each device should "win" 20% of the time):
Laptop on Ethernet = 62% (+42% from expected)
iPhone on Cellular = 16% (-4%)
iPhone on WiFi = 16% (-4%)
iPad on WiFi = 4% (-16%)
iPad on Cellular = 2% (-18%)
Laptop on Ethernet = 20% (+0% from expected)
iPhone on Cellular = 21% (+1%)
iPhone on WiFi = 16% (-4%)
iPad on WiFi = 19% (-1%)
iPad on Cellular = 24% (+4%)
Given these results, I'm going to use BuzzIn.Live for our virtual quiz. Our current plan is to have the students gather at their local church and maintain CDC social distancing guidelines while in the room. In short:
Coaches will manage the computer running Zoom for their team. They will get their team to the next virtual room per the quiz schedule and unmute the video call when it is appropriate.
Quizzers will log in at BuzzIn.Live on their personal device. After every game, they will refresh their browser to log in to the next quiz match.
Quizmasters will be the host of their Zoom room and a persistent BuzzIn.Live game. They will also be responsible for keeping score if no other help is available.
Now I just need to figure out what to do about awards...