It's so tricky to know what you need when you're starting to teach online. Do you need that big monitor from Best Buy? What about that special microphone everyone's talking about? Do I need ultimate lighting, so my students see me in a glow?
When teachers come to a coaching call, they seem overwhelmed on what is needed to teach online. Rightfully so. They're just so many different options that create frustration. When I started teaching online, I wasn't even sure if I'd be successful, so my money commitment was minimal.
I started watching YouTube to see what I would need to start teaching online. I knew I wanted a device where I could write on the screen. I saw the benefits of the document camera and how I could use all materials if I had one. I also needed things like a printer and sticky notes (who doesn't need sticky notes? 😉). I already had my teaching materials that I used for in-person teaching, so it seemed like I was halfway there.
When the pandemic started and I started looking around to see other teachers' set ups and comparing myself, I felt like I had to rush out and get a massive monitor, microphone, and a high-quality headset. I changed everything that I was doing because I was watching what other people were doing. I went into a tailspin thinking about all the things that I needed to teach online and the empty pockets it would create. I had to take a step back and stop comparing myself to everyone else.
What's Necessary, What's Recommended, & What Are Some Things You Can Splurge On:
No doubt about it, you need a laptop. I would make sure that your laptop is on the newer side and up to date. Whatever you choose, it should be easy to use and affordable for you. However, I would not recommend a Chromebook if you were using Zoom because the tools will not be accessible.
An iPad Pro sounds like a good idea because you can write on the screen, but remember that when you share your screen, your video will go away. On a Surface Pro or MacBook, the video is maintained.
My go-to is a Microsoft Surface Pro. My online tutoring business became a reality in 2018 when I switched devices with my mom. I gave up my MacBook (oh, the horror, I know 😱), and she got me a Microsoft Surface Pro during the Black Friday sales. The Surface Pro is a tablet/laptop that allows you to write on the screen. It's very user-friendly, and, yes, it will fit in your to-go bag.
We've all been there, frozen like the Disney movie. It's the worst feeling, and we want to crawl under our desk and hide. What's more, it is frustrating for the students. You definitely need high-speed internet if you are working online for your business or side hustle. If there's ever an internet problem, you don't want to be on your side knowing there's a frustrated student on the other. Having high-speed internet access is going to improve your connection on all fronts. My advice would be to call your local provider and get the best plan. Then, set your computer next to the modem to get optimal internet.
If I could shout it from the rooftops, I would! The document camera is going to transform your lesson allowing you to take all the materials you worked with previously and use them online. When I first started out, I worked with the Hue, but that, unfortunately, broke several times. Now, I recommend the Inswan document camera. It has an autofocus and auto zoom. It is also built very sturdily. Bonus, it will fit in your purse if you're traveling. Think about it...you travel this summer ✈️ while still tutoring.
I look back at old video footage, and I cannot believe that I was basically teaching kids in the dark. It's no wonder they weren't listening to me. Lighting is important, but it does not have to break the bank. The best lighting you're going to have is to face a window. That lighting is a free bonus, and it's natural light. If you're stuck in the basement or in a place without a lot of light, you can invest in a ring light from Amazon for less than $25. Personally, I like one that has a clip on it to clip it to my desk. I look for one with adjustable light settings. You don't need an amazing ring light that costs hundreds of dollars.
A lot of teachers have invested in a headset, but you have to think about the background noise of your household and the noise on your student's side. The first headset I got was under $20, and it was from Amazon. It plugged into the side of the computer.
I would recommend having an iPad or iPhone close by so you can communicate with the families or look up something quickly. I use one for my favorite virtual dice or spinner for game days. Speaking of games, this week's FREE game is a fun dog-themed activity. Click HERE for access.
Spring is finally coming; can you believe it? It's time for spring cleaning. The webinar coming up in March is going to be all about teacher set up. It's going to be broken down into technological set up, materials you need to teach, how to teach and organize your materials, my favorite materials that enhance a lesson, and, of course, there's going to be some gifts and video trainings. 😊
I hope to see you at the next webinar which will be on the last Saturday in March, the 26th. It will be live and recorded so no worries if you have plans or if you're in a different time zone. Grab your spot HERE! I can't wait to see you there!
Until then, I still have some one-on-one coaching sessions and coaching bundles available. Are you struggling with something or have a question? Click below and message me👇. I'd love to help! I'd also love to chat!
Have a great week!