Taking on a new career as a home based online teacher is certainly both an exciting and nerve racking experience. You have a lot of questions about how you can efficiently transfer knowledge to your students online. This is where video conferencing tools come in.
Explaining Video Conferencing
According to Webopedia, video conferencing software is a tool that can be used to hold live conferences between two or more participants who are at different locations. This means, you can meet and conduct lessons online regardless of where your students are located.
The technology behind the software allows audio and visual signals to be sent and received by the participants by using a common network and codec. The way it works is quite simple. Visual Systems Group, Inc explains the software as one that has a cyclical process.
When you and your student are online, you both need to have the same video conferencing software to be able to connect with each other. This along with other equipment makes it possible for you to communicate. When you greet your student, your voice and image captured by the camera and microphone are coded and compressed and sent via the network by a codec.
Once it is transmitted, the codec on your student’s side decodes and decompresses the data so he or she can see and hear you as a real time video. When he or she responds then the process starts over. His voice and image is coded and compressed to be transmitted to your side. The entire process happens very fast so the signals are displayed as videos.
Video conferencing software for teaching makes home-based learning possible. It allows you to be able to conduct online classes with students wherever they may be located as long as they have the software and right equipment.
Understanding Video Conferencing Options
Computer based training or e-learning platforms are quick becoming the standard in corporate employee development. However, there are modules that still benefit from some kind of interaction with a trainer or instructor. This is actually what has created the need for home-based trainers. With online video conference software, you can facilitate modules from the comfort of your home. But in order to successfully deliver results, you need to have a dependable tool.
There are different types of video conferencing software that you can choose from. The best one of course depends on what your needs are. Below are your options,
- Desktop Video Conferencing Software
This type of software is the most commonly used for home-based teaching especially for those like you who are just starting out. It doesn’t require sophisticated equipment as it will work quite well with a regular laptop or desktop.
The only investment you need if you will be working as a home-based trainer aside from the software is a headset and a webcam. If you are using a laptop, speakers and microphones are already built in on your equipment so you wouldn’t need to spend anything extra.
If you will be using a desktop computer, equipment such as headsets, microphones, speakers and webcams can be bought at affordable prices. One thing though that you do need to ensure that you have is high speed internet connection.
Companies often have preferred software accessible through a portal on a secure site. This is a part of access management systems that most businesses have. If you are working with a company you may also be provided with log-ins to keep the online teaching secure. If you are working as a freelance instructor, then you may want to take advantage of free video conference software downloads available from various providers.
- Room-based Video Conferencing Software
If the type of modules that you will be running requires demonstration or one that simulates a classroom, then a room based video conferencing tool will be ideal. This type requires higher end equipment such as HD or motion detecting webcams, stronger microphones and better speakers. Since you will be away from your desktop while teaching, you need equipment that can work with you efficiently.
More sophisticated tools also come with additional features that allow you to share information. These could be files, slides or even your own screen. This makes teaching online more interactive despite not being in the same room.
Merging Technology and Education
To be able to successfully transfer knowledge, you will need more than just the software and training modules. Here are some ways you can ensure that technology can work in hand in hand with learning.
- Learning Aids – Not being in the same room means engaging your student may become a bit challenging. There may be distractions on both ends that you will need to compete with. For example, if you are teaching kids online, then you will need to use visually stimulating learning aids such as cue cards, illustrations and even puppets. This will make the lesson more entertaining.
Teaching kids require a lot of effort so don’t be afraid to encourage a little play into the lessons. It turns learning into something your students will look forward to rather than dread. By making it a fun environment you also keep them from getting bored so they are able to stay focused.
If you are teaching adults then a different set of props will be necessary. For example, if you were introducing a new product to new sales associates, then having a sample on both sides will be ideal. If this is not possible, then pictures and diagrams will work as well. Be sure to integrate this into the training to reinforce the key takeaways.
Reviews of online video conference software show that users find the features that allow sharing to be the most beneficial for teaching.
- File Sharing – Send and receive files during the online lesson so you can give additional resource material to your student or trainee.
- Slide Presentation – Allows you to display slide presentations as an inset or visual option.
- Screen Sharing – Allows you to share your screen with your students. This is often used for tools training or going over a document such as evaluations.
- Stay Professional – Working from home means it is more convenient for you and your students. However, you still need to make sure that you are dressed appropriately. Dress as you would if you were conducting the lesson face to face. Collared shirts in subdued hues will be ideal as it will cause little distraction. If you wear t-shirts or tank tops then the lesson will not simulate learning and be more like a social chat.
There are however exceptions that may apply. If you are teaching little kids, then they often respond better to something playful. You can wear something that looks fun but not distract them too much. These could be colorful shirts or a headband with bunny or cats ears. Keep in mind that your appearance will serve to stimulate the learning environment, so you need to dress for it.
- Create Learning Checkpoints – Home-based teaching is still teaching. So, you will need to make sure that you evaluate how successful the transfer of knowledge is. You can create learning checks to gauge your student’s progress. These could be quick ones during the lesson, so you can adjust your pace or ones right before you end the lesson.
If you decide to let your students do the check after the lesson and before the next one, you can use electronic digital signatures to help you keep track of which students have completed the checks. By introducing evaluations into your online lessons, you can improve the learning experience.
- Feedback – While online teaching with video conferencing tools simulates a face to face environment, it is undeniable that the interaction is limited. You will be unable to provide as much reinforcement as you could if you were actually in the same location. To ensure that your student continues to stay focused and motivated be generous with feedback.
You’d be surprised at the different ways you can provide feedback to your students while conducting online lessons. Top online video conference software offers a feature that allows you to send text messages each other through a messenger. You can give real time reinforcement and behavior redirect through this medium.
You can also provide feedback through email. Some companies recognize the benefits of having email management software, so employees and customers often get this feature. This means, your students or trainees can access the feedback that you send from virtually anywhere.
One other great thing about feedback is that it can help you improve your teaching as well. Encourage your students or participants to share their insights on how the lessons are going. You can create forms or questionnaires to help source the information you need on how you can become a better teacher.
- Pre-Lesson/Course Information – Maximize your online lesson by making sure that both you and your student or trainee is prepared for the session. Send the course outline and an overview of what will be discussed before the actual lesson. This way, your student can have any questions he or she may have ready for when you meet.
In addition, by making material available prior to the lesson, you set the right expectations with the student so they can get ready properly. That means having everything they need from resource materials to regular pens and paper.
Home-based teaching can be very fulfilling as you are able to work on what you are passionate in but at the same time still enjoy the stress free environment of your own home. But like any other career, you need to make sure that you have the right skills and equipment to become successful.
You can check out your options for the video conferencing software that you can use for your new home-base teaching career at CrowdReviews.com.
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