Online teaching and tutoring have never been easier and more possible and many teachers, corporate trainers, and freelance trainers are now taking advantage of the chance to teach online and work part-time, from home, or even whilst traveling the world. So what gadgets and equipment for teaching online do you need? Let’s look at 5 items that we have found invaluable and that you might also find extremely useful.
(Please note: All items recommended on this page we either presently use or have used. Some of the links below are affiliate links.
1. Best HD Webcam: Logitech C920
Why It’s Needed: One of the easiest ways to provide online lessons with the least effort is to use a desktop or laptop computer and to use a webcam. If using a webcam then to get the best results, you will need an HD quality webcam.
This is an amazing quality camera that will give you HD and widescreen video and it costs less than $100 (£100).
If you are a freelance teacher or trainer working from home. and looking for a brilliant quality webcam at very little cost. this is it! The Logitech C920 webcam.
Most new laptops these days use a 1920 x 1080 screen, meaning that they are HD quality. Do not worry if this confuses you.
The key point is that, if you buy a new webcam, then you want it to be HD 1080 and this camera is.
As an online teacher or trainer you might not necessarily have great I.T. skills but this webcam:
- is incredibly easy to use because you just plug it into the USB socket
- comes with a privacy shutter – you can flip the shutter down after use to cover the camera so that people cannot see you when you are not using the camera (a lovely feature they have added onto the previous version of this camera)
- is portable and you can buy it with a small carrying case if you wish to (also available on Amazon)
Why it’s good for online teaching: This provides a very easy way to be seen in high-quality HD video, by those viewing you. As an online teacher, this is a cheap way to get great results and to make sure that your students or team can easily see you clearly.
2. Lavalier Microphone
Why It’s Needed: Whether you use a camera or webcam for filming yourself, you will need good audio i.e. a good microphone.
For audio, RØDE is arguably one of the best brands in the business and this includes lavalier microphones.
”Lavalier’ by the way, refers to a set of headphones that also have an inbuilt microphone so that you can also speak into. You might well have seen TV newsreaders or TV presenters with these small microphones.
Why it’s good for online teaching: The worst scenario is to be teaching online and for your students not to be able to hear you clearly. Great quality audio is essential. I recommend a lavalier microphone.
3. RØDE Wireless GO – Compact Wireless Microphone System
Why It’s Needed: You might choose to buy the lavalier microphone mentioned earlier. This is another great option for high-quality crisp clear audio and especially good if you want to avoid any cables.
If you are moving as you teach then this is a brilliant and incredible product – the RØDE Wireless Go microphone system.
Teaching yoga online? Teaching pilates online? Or teaching some other fitness classes in an online digital classroom? This can be an extremely good system for you as you move around a room and teach.
Why is the Wireless GO so good? Well, it:
- has outstanding audio quality
- comes with a clip that you simply use to attach to an item of clothing (it’s very small)
- can send the audio up to 70 meters
- easy to take anywhere as it’s very compact
How the RØDE Wireless GO Works
- You have two very small boxes (devices) that come with the system.
- You simply pair the two devices (take seconds and is automatic) and then clip one onto yourself i.e. onto your belt or somewhere, and the other you attach to your recording device (i.e laptop or camera)
- And you are ready to go. You can move around a room or stand or sit wherever you want and you will have no long dangling cables and yet you’ll be able to record amazing quality audio with very little effort!
Why it’s good for online teaching: Incredible audio recording, no cables, clip on, very easy to use and you can also teach as you move (if needed). It is arguably not cheap at around £140 (USD$200) but it is all you will ever need for your audio.
3. Skype (For Freelance Teachers & Trainers)
Why It’s Needed: You do not have to use Skype as your teaching platform but this is one option that is easy to use and especially good for 1-to-1 teaching online.
The teaching platform that you use to reach and communicate with your students online, will greatly depend on if you are working for yourself as a freelance trainer (or teacher) or if you are working for an established online school (such as for teaching English to Chinese students in China).
If you are teaching one-to-one online, then Skype is incredibly cheap to use and very easy to use overall (it can take you a little fiddling around at first but you should soon get used to it).
Why it’s good for online teaching: Skype is incredibly cheap and very easy to use. Buy a microphone (see above) and HD webcam and install Skype and you can start teaching online!
5. Background Lighting for Online Teaching
If Using a Camera to Film Videos
Why It’s Needed: Lighting is one of the key pieces of equipment for teaching online that many people forget or do not bother with, yet it can be essential if you want to be visible clearly online as you teach.
As a teacher, you do not want your students online to be struggling to see you because you haven’t got acceptable lighting set up as you record or stream video of yourself teaching.
As a teacher online there is no excuse for poor lighting because there are some very affordable and excellent options online.
The product we recommend is the Neewer Mini LED Video Light Pocket-size On-camera Video Light 12-piece LED Lighting CRI 95.
If using a Smartphone for Teaching Online ( Docooler 12inch Ring Light )
If you are willing to pay a lot more then there are some more expensive and very good options but in this post, I am trying to provide great value options. So my choice is the DoCooler 12 inch lighting.
There are so many laptops out there and they range so greatly in terms of costs that I am going to withhold suggesting a specific laptop to buy if you need one for your online teaching and tutoring business.
What I will do here though is to give you one key tip when choosing a laptop for your online teaching.
Make sure that you buy a laptop that has at least:
1920 x 1080 Screen Resolution
For some reason, laptops are still on sale that are not HD 1920 x 1080 or above. Most new laptops do seem to now be HD but just make sure that the one you look to buy is.
A laptop that is 1366 x 768, for example, will NOT be full HD and, if you make teaching and tutorial videos that include recording your computer screen, they might not look very good quality when people view them on a newer HD ready laptop or desktop.
Additional Equipment You Can Consider
You can buy a background screen such as a green background for any filming or in front of which to present yourself on video online when teaching and giving training.
A background is not by any means essential. You can easily do without this type of equipment for teaching online if you wish to.
Dr Paul Symonds
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