Showing posts with label online education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online education. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Teaching Online - What Does it Take?

This week I am hosting guest blog posts. This one is from Nik Peachey. I have been following Nik's work for many years and I was flattered that he wanted to guest post on my little blog.

As the market for online tutoring and particularly for online English lessons continues to grow at rapid pace, it seems inevitable that eventually all teachers will be expected to be able to deliver some elements of their classes online.

This can be intimidating, especially for the less tech savvy teacher, but developing this ability isn’t so difficult and if you can overcome some of the technical obstacles there are many advantages to be able to teach online, not least the fact that, in many cases, you don’t have to leave home to do it and you can have more flexibility to fit your classes around your own schedule.

So what do you need to get started?
Firstly, you’ll need a laptop with a good quality headset and a webcam. Nowadays, the kind of headset you get with the average smartphone will usually be good enough for the job. Don’t be tempted to use the speakers built in to your laptop or desktop computer, this will cause echo for your students and won’t make you a popular teacher.

The next thing you need is a good broadband internet connection. If your home connection struggles, then there are a few things you can do to help it along. Plugging in with an ethernet cable rather than wifi can help, as can rebooting your computer before you start a class and ensuring that you don’t have other browser windows or programs open which could be sucking up your connection in the background.

Once you have the equipment side of things sorted you also need to find a suitable place to do it. This needs to be quiet, well lit and have a suitable looking background. Remember, your students are going to be able to see the room you are in, so make sure you don’t have your washing hanging up in the background. It’s also best to have a light behind your computer screen rather than behind you. This will ensure that you don’t appear as a silhouette. If you have a strong light that’s directional, try to bounce the light off of a wall and onto your face so that it lights your face without dazzling you.

When you set up your webcam try to make sure it is on eye level with your face and you look directly towards it. This will help you make eye contact with your students and also ensure that they aren’t looking up your nose or just the top of your head. Ideally they should be able to see from above your head and down to your elbows. This will give you a reasonable space to work in and help them understand some of the non verbal elements of communication.

One of the hardest challenges most teachers have when moving from the physical classroom to the online classroom, is the lack of visual space. In the classroom we have lots of space to move around play with the proximity to our students, mime, make exaggerated gestures and generally move around. In the online classroom, you are ‘trapped’ within the visual space that your webcam offers. This is limiting, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still use the space. Practice in front of the camera and see what the best distance away is to give yourself a bit more space. See how you can use hand gestures within that space. Examine the impact that moving in closer to the camera can have, or putting your hands closer to the camera. In time you can develop a whole new repertoire body language and communication gestures.

The other things you need are a platform for the delivery of you courses and some content to deliver. I have been working with the platform for some time and I find it has lots of great features such as document sharing, so that you and students can work on things like Google docs collaboratively, in the classroom. The ability to sync video across the class so that you can watch video from YouTube during the online classes, and it also provides an LMS with content creation tools so you can build in asynchronous elements to your courses for independent study or flipping your online classroom.

The last problem is content. You can’t simply grab a copy of your course book and scan it to use online as that would be violation of copyright, so you may find you have to create your own. I’ve done this using Genially. This is a great tool for creating all kinds of dynamic web-based content. This is an example of one of the lessons I developed using it.

Well, I hope this helps you to get started on your online teaching route and that you enjoy picking up some new skills along the way.

Nik Peachey is an award winning materials writer and course developer. He has been involved in education since 1992 and delivers conference presentations and workshops for teachers all over the world. He also co-founded PeacheyPublications Ltd where he publishes and shares a range of teacher development ebooks and digital classroom materials.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eject Guests from Google+ Hangouts

Last week Google removed the need for a plugin to participate in Google+ Hangouts. This week another feature was added that makes Google+ Hangouts a little more school-friendly. Now you can eject guests from Google+ Hangouts. Participants who are in the same domain as the creator of the hangout can eject guests. If a guest from outside of the domain is ejected from the Hangout he or she can only rejoin by invitation.

Friday, November 29, 2013

eduCanon - Create, Assign, and Track Flipped Lesson Progress

eduCanon is a free service for creating, assigning, and tracking your students' progress on flipped lessons. eduCanon allows teachers to build flipped lessons using YouTube and Vimeo videos, create questions about the videos, then assign lessons to their students. Teachers can track the progress of their students within eduCanon.

To create lessons start by identifying a topic and objective then searching YouTube and Vimeo from within the eduCanon site. Once you've found a suitable video you can build multiple choice questions throughout the timeline of your chosen video. You can create as many lessons as you like and assign them to your students at any time.

The video below provides a short overview of eduCanon.

Applications for Education
Using eduCanon, like other services similar to it, could be a good way to build introductory and review lessons for students. The option to track your students' progress is nice for anticipating the questions your students might bring to class and for seeing what you might need to review in-person with your students.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Google Alerts and Your Organization's Digital Reputation

Earlier this week I facilitated a workshop about social media for leaders of schools and organizations. Two of the questions that I posed to the group at the beginning of the day were; 1. What happens when someone Googles your organization? 2. What is being said about your organization without your knowledge?

After presenting those questions I gave folks time to try to find some answers to those questions. There were a few people surprised by what they found. My suggestion to everyone in the room was to create a set of Google Alerts for the names associated with their organizations. I encouraged people to create Google Alerts for not only the proper names of their organizations but also the nicknames and abbreviated names that people use for their organizations. Google Alerts makes it easy to find out when someone publishes something new about your organization online.

Another suggestion that I often make in workshops about social media is to look at popular social networks like Facebook and see if there are groups formed about your school or organization. And while Myspace is no longer popular with kids, the story that Clay Shirky shares in the video below (start at 2:15 into the video) is a good example of why you want to know what is happening in social media.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fat Minds - Find Online Higher Education Courses

Fat Minds is a service that aims to help people find the continuing education courses that best fit their needs. Fatminds can help you find certificate programs, Masters degree programs, and an assortment of continuing education courses. Fat Minds sorts courses and programs using a variety of criteria including online availability, location of in-person courses, costs, and program type. You can learn more about Fat Minds on Tech Crunch.

Applications for Education
If you're looking to start a new continuing education program, Fat Minds could help you select the one that best fits your needs. I did a quick search of Fat Minds for online-only education courses and found more than 300 listings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sophia - Social Teaching and Learning

There are a lot of places on the web where students can find free homework help. Some of those places are better than others, Sophia is one that falls into the "better" category. Sophia is a free platform on which teachers can publish packets of information about any academic topic they choose. Packets can include text, images, and videos to explain and illustrate information. Published packets are reviewed and rated by the Sophia community. A green check mark emblem on a packet signifies that the Sophia community has rated that packet as "academically sound."

Students can access Sophia information packets without signing up for an account, but signing up for an account is free and provides access to some extra benefits. Students who register for a Sophia account can "follow" packets of information to be informed of updates. Registered students can also create private study groups where they can share information and ask questions of those in their groups. 

Applications for Education
Sophia could be a good platform for providing students with online materials to supplement your classroom instruction. The option to create private groups provides students with a place to ask clarifying questions of you and their classmates. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tips for Teaching Online

My ISTE 2010 roommate Cory Plough teaches all of his high school social studies courses online. If you're just starting out teaching online or you're considering doing it in the future, Cory has just written a post that you must read. Cory's latest post on his blog The Next Step points out some things that people new to teaching online might not think about when designing and conducting online courses. Read 4 Tips for Teaching a Course Online.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Udemy - Free Platform for Teaching Courses Online

Udemy is a new free platform for teaching courses online. Anyone can sign-up for Udemy and start creating courses in minutes. Udemy offers a variety of tools for delivering content online. Course creators can publish slideshows, publish videos, and create mash-ups of slideshows and videos synched together. Course creators can also hold live online sessions through Udemy's virtual classroom platform. I tried all of these tools earlier tonight and had them all working in less than ten minutes.

The video below provides an overview of Udemy's services.

Applications for Education
Udemy could be a good platform for creating and delivering professional development seminars. You could publish your content online where teachers can then access it at their convenience. If you then have teachers who would like some live instruction you can use Udemy's live virtual classroom space.