E-learning-Getting Started-Tools & Tech*
So you're interested in being an online teacher. What are some must haves?
- Computer with at least 4GB RAM and an operating system of Window 7 or above, OS 10.8x or higher with built-in or external camera.
- Headset with boom mic. It is incredibly important to invest in a good headset, especially if you're going to be wearing it for hours upon hours daily. You need quality sound, comfort for wearing it for hours on end, and also noise reduction. Even if you do not have kids, you'll be surprised at how many things go bump in the night and creak around your home. If you do have children, the last thing you'll want is to hear your child screaming for you (in general) but also in the delay, echoing throughout the student's house. Invest in a good headset in the beginning, so you have less to worry about down the road. I have the Razer Kraken Gaming Headset. I'd recommend a gaming headset in general because they are built for long-term comfort and have noise isolation mics, perfect for noisy areas (or noisy bubs!)
- Lighting is so incredibly important. I cannot stress this enough. Bad lighting can make yourself and your classroom unappealing to students. Who wants the teacher lurking in the dark with dark shadows all over their face? For traveling I recommend the Miday Clip on Lamp. I like it because it has a USB rechargeable battery, three different light strengths, can be used freestanding or clipped on. A lot of traveling teachers recommend selfie lights, but I preferred using this because of the flexible neck, which you can adjust for the correct angle, whereas selfie lights remain static.
- Which brings us to cameras, whether internal or external. External cameras can be expensive, but sometimes your lighting issues can be improved with a higher quality camera. The Logitech C920e is on my wish list! Every time I see an online teacher with an external camera, this is the one they've chosen and they all LOVE it. I considered purchasing the C922 as it has a lower price point, but the reviews I read much favored the C920e as worth the price difference.
- Warm and welcoming "classroom". I have worked in a guest room, my daughters room, in front of a tv, garage, and laundry room. You can literally work from anywhere but make sure whether you're a minimalist or prop enthusiast, you create a warm, and inviting background "classroom" space. If you're on the go, this world map tapestry is perfect. It's made of a lightweight, flag-like material, meaning it can be hung easily with anything from wall tack to painters tape (which I had to recently use) and takes up a minuscule amount of room in your bag. Also this fun and friendly map will not cause controversy in your classroom, as more graphic maps may differ from the approved maps allowed in China.
- Props-You will see a lot of YouTube famous online teachers using tons of props. I am not a prop heavy teacher myself, but at the bare minimum I recommend your phone and a paddle whiteboard you can easily write on and hold up and markers. You can essentially draw anything on your whiteboard and use that or your phone for a secondary reward.