The first key to success in your online teaching is setting up your teaching space so you are comfortable and have everything you need close at hand. The first place to start with the the appropriate equipment. You can definitely go crazy with the equipment if you want, but this is general list for things you'll need to have a good experience.
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The equipment I personally use is marked with **
You can teach online lessons with a wide variety of devices. I’ll start with the best case scenario and we’ll work our way to others that will work just fine for you.
Computer: The most reliable device is going to be a computer hard wired into your router through an ethernet cable. This provides the most stable internet connection and is a game changer for video quality. If you can’t hardwire your computer, upgrade your wifi to the most powerful service you can.
I also HIGHLY recommend investing in a second monitor. This will give you the flexibility to conduct your lesson on one screen while having easy access to other documents and software on the second screen.
**Apple Macbook Pro**
Tablet: iPads also work really well as a streaming device. The camera and microphone are high quality and it still provides a sizable screen. It’s also easy to move to different angles. The downside is that it requires some workarounds to hardwire and you don’t have the same functionality for screen sharing as you do on a computer or laptop.
iPad 7th Gen
Chromebook: Don’t use one if at all possible. I know this may seem harsh and they are great for portability and excellent for the wallet, but they don’t function well for online lesson streaming. Zoom is not very functional and Google Hangouts, about the only other option on a Chromebook, is extremely limited.
This is one of the most common questions. Do I really need an external mic? The short answer is no, but I highly recommend it for two reasons.
**Blue Yeti** (fast becoming the industry standard!)
Amazon Basics Professional Condenser Mic
Speakers or Headphones
A good set of computer speakers or headphones will also allow you to get the best sound from your students. You can use a wide variety from ear pods to wired headphones to noise cancelling headphones (my personal choice).
Bluetooth Ear Pods
**Noise cancelling headphones**
Video Conferencing Software
Here you also have a number of choices. For years, teachers have used Skype to teach online lessons and it still works very well. There are now other options out there that give us a nice variety to choose from.
Skype - long time standard for video conferencing and has been used for online lessons for many years.
Google Hangouts or Meet - Works great if you have a Chromebook, but does not have customizable sound settings.
FaceTime - seems to have good sound and picture quality but can only be used if everyone has an Apple product
**Zoom** - fast becoming the industry standard for online lessons. Has the most functionality for sharing files and has customizable audio settings that work well for online lessons.
Well, there you have it. This should get you started with finding the right equipment to set up your online teaching studio. Next we’ll tackle setting up your teaching space!