I am going to talk to you about some of the tools I use to do my classes so you get an idea of how I set up the classroom to give you the utmost quality. I have spent a lot of time investigating on the internet to find the best products I can to be able to give you a fulfilling experience when you are in one of my classes.
When I first started with the idea of doing online courses I thought it would be a simple task and that there were not many things to take into account, apart from a webcam and a microphone and of course, internet connection. But when I got into the subject in a bit more depth I realized it was not as easy and simple as I had thought. There are many things to take into consideration but here are some of the most important components that compose the setup.
To start off I will break it down into a series of big groups so you get an overall picture and then I will tell you a little about each product and what it implies to handle the situation well for an online class.
These are the major groups I take into consideration:
Personal computer: first of all, as is expected, a computer is the foundation of the setup. Of course, I realised I needed to have a good PC in order to give quality to my students. I can’t have the computer freezing up or being slow because it cannot handle the load it must take at certain moments within the class.
Audio: obviously this is the next most important factor to be able to teach a language online. A good microphone and some way of getting it connected to the computer.
Video: I broke this up into two categories. The first being the video side of the setup, in order to make videos to give tutorials, and the second, streaming video (webcam) to make the classes more lifelike and more personal, as well as getting rid of that “cold” feeling of just looking at a presentation and listening to the explanation.
Lighting and background: This was an immediate thought after the video equipment. I realised I would not only be teaching during the day, and that many winter months are very gloomy and cloudy and the days shorter so daylight would not be enough. Some form of artificial lighting is required if I don’t want to be streaming or making videos that look dramatic at the least, and thus give the impression of poor quality and therefore, lack of interest and investment. A background setup allows me to create chroma key editing which is an extra asset to be able to crop out the background and use my video image as an overlay.
I.W.B. (Interactive White Board): many of my fellow colleagues disagree that this is a necessity in online teaching, but after so many years of teaching in academies and doing private tuition, I feel the need to have somewhere to quickly write down notes, examples or anything of the kind which is normally jotted down on a whiteboard or even just a simple notebook. After going through a vast amount of web pages and spending hours, if not days searching for a solution I decided a tablet with a digital pen was going to be the most suitable solution, as opposed to larger solutions such as big boards or even really fancy interactive panels, which all seemed incredibly large and cumbersome to handle.
Software: this is probably one of the most complex of all the points to take into consideration. Obviously, in the line of work we are talking about here, even though I have left it for the end, it is probably the second after the PC. But anyway, the order is not too important, and I suppose you could consider this to be another part of the foundation of the work we are doing here. This step opens up into many different “sub-groups”.
This post is the first in this category. I will go into more depth into each of the above points and give full detail of the steps that I have taken to achieve the stage where I am now.
This is a very long path and it is not simple. I am writing this post to inform you of all the work and effort that is being put on this site and my online classes.
I feel very positive about it and it motivates me to continue teaching. I am very passionate about my work and I really enjoy giving you all a bit of my inspiration and my motivation to carry on, and of course, and above all, to transmit to you a language which I consider to be a key to universal communication.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I will soon continue with this series……
All the best for now
Cambridge CELTA qualified Teacher. A professional teacher with many years of experience.
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