Don’t worry, online teaching doesn’t have to be stressful, we’ve researched and gathered all of the equipment you need to teach online in order to effective. We knew the transition to remote work was coming soon, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process, giving teachers and students a learning curve in education. As a student, you have to adjust to less interactive learning. And as a teacher, you cant engage students the same way you would in a classroom. What equipment do you need to teach online?
To truly be effective as a teacher in a virtual classroom, you are going to need the proper tools for the job. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of things you will need to be effective and allow your class to go as smoothly as possible.
The basic equipment you will need is a laptop or desktop PC that is sufficient enough for your teaching platform, headset/microphone, and webcam. In addition to these items, you will need a few other things to remain effective at work. You may also want to look for specific features and technical requirements to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible.
Here we list the essential equipment you need to teach online, things you should know before buying, and why you need them. We’ll also include some honorable mentions that are great additions to a virtual classroom but not essential.
1.A Laptop or Personal Computer
As a teacher or professor transitioning to remote teaching, the core of your operation is your computer. Without one, you are unable to teach online.
You want to make sure you have a strong core and that your personal computer meets the minimum requirements for the software you’ll be teaching on. Generally speaking, technical requirements for online teaching software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams aren’t usually high. This means you don’t need the latest Macbook or any other high-end machine.
The most you’ll need is 8 GB of ram, an i5 processor, wifi connectivity, and a solid display of at least 1366 x 768. You should also consider a 15” screen or larger, after all, you will have multiple tabs open for your classroom resources, and the virtual classroom. The larger screen will give more space to work with, and provide less strain on the eyes.
Whether you go with a laptop or a desktop, is up to you. A laptop offers more portability, while a desktop allows you to connect to a larger monitor.
2.A Microphone or Headset
It wouldn’t be a successful class if the students couldn’t hear your impactful words right? You want to ensure your students hear you nice, loud, and clear. You could either invest in a single microphone or get a headset that has a mic.
A nice headset with noise cancellation and a mic will allow you to fully immerse yourself in your virtual classroom. Having a headset also allows you to set up easier since you only have to worry about one input. If you are getting a headset, make sure the headsets audio input is compatible with your laptop or desktops ports
But if you find headsets uncomfortable, you could opt for just the external mic, and maybe use your earbuds to cater to your comfort.
I’d r also recommend spending a little extra money on the headset because clear audio can greatly impact a student’s comprehension.
Your students need to be able to see you, to engage. If your video quality is poor the students will most likely get distracted. Most laptops these days come equipped with a webcam but the quality is not always great. If you have a high-end laptop with a decent webcam, you won’t need to purchase an external one. But if you are unsure of the capabilities of your laptop’s webcam, we recommend purchasing an external webcam.
The two main things you want to look for in a webcam are resolution and frames per second. You should look for 1080p and 30 FPS at a minimum to ensure high-quality video streaming.
If you have a little extra money to spend, you could also look for a webcam that offers great low-light performance, good autofocus, and good color accuracy.
You won’t need the fancy webcam though, especially with our next product.
4.A Ring Light
Ring lights may have been a trend for the kids on Tik Tok, but they are very useful in adding lighting to your video quality. Great background lighting guarantees your students can see you but also makes you look professional.
Ring Lights feature several small bulbs that form a circle or just one circular fluorescent bulb. When you place them in front of you, the light helps get rid of shadows and reduce blemishes.
5.An Office Chair
If you plan on teaching for extended periods in a virtual setting, we recommend investing in an office chair. You should allocate a good chunk of your budget to a good chair. Chairs that aren’t ergonomic are uncomfortable and known to give back pain.
Look for something ergonomic, with adjustable settings. The more you’re able to adjust, the more likely you are to be comfortable and maintain proper posture. There are chairs with plenty of cushioning that may suit some, but if you’re looking for something with a breathable design, you should look for a chair with a mesh backrest.
What Equipment Do You Need to Teach Online: Honorable Mentions
These are the items that only a select few may find useful in their virtual teaching endeavors.
While you can easily use an online whiteboard, some people may prefer to use a physical whiteboard. It has been a teacher’s best friend for decades. You could draw diagrams, write lesson notes and so much more. Some people just prefer to handwrite things.
Digital Writing Pad
Your virtual classroom software may offer a digital whiteboard but drawing on a screen can be a pain. It’s hard to accurately draw and write using a mouse or touchpad. The digital writing pad will come with a pen-like stylus that will allow you to write and draw as you would if you were writing on paper.
The Green Screen
Green screens are used to remove your background via chroma keying. Changing your background after every lesson would catch your student’s eye and keep them more attentive. You could even use a classroom background to help students forget that they are at home.
If you teach younger students, classroom props are your best friend. Kids love decorations, and if you decorate the classroom the kids will definitely take note. Props such as a hand puppet are a fun and interactive way to connect with your students. I promise they’ll never forget the hand puppet.
What Equipment Do You Need to Teach Online? – Conclusion
The transition to remote learning has been a difficult and overwhelming process for teachers. You want to perform your job at a high level, but now you have to do it in a completely different environment. To make that transition easier, our guide lists products that will improve your online teaching experience for both you and your students. We’ve listed the essentials such as a decent laptop or computer, a ring light, an office chair, good microphone, and a webcam.
You could also consider some of the items in the honorable mentions. Classroom props may be good for teachers who work with younger students, while a digital writing pad may be useful for all teachers. You should try and experiment with the items on the honorable mentions to see if they would be a good fit for you.