Many families, students, teachers, and tutors have been thrust into the world of online learning in recent months. Though online learning has been available for many years, until recently this method has mostly been utilized by higher-level learning such as college courses or business tutorials. Now more than ever, people are looking for alternative but still effective ways of learning remotely. Setting up an online tutoring session can seem intimidating at first, but following these 4 simple suggestions can enhance your online tutoring sessions and provide an invaluable resource for families and students looking to maintain consistent academic growth.
Pre-check device compatibility
It is important to familiarize yourself with the online platform you are using so you can inform your students on which devices are compatible for their online sessions. Devices need to have video capability and an installed browser that is compatible with your platform. It would be advantageous to communicate with new students prior to the tutoring session to make sure the device and browser they plan on using is compatible with your online tutoring platform. Additionally, some platforms allow the use of other electronic accessories such as microphones, multiple webcams, headphones, etc. Ensuring your students that their devices are set-up and enabled correctly can alleviate some anxiety that comes with venturing out into online learning.
Utilize demo mode for familiarity
Some platforms provide a way for you to create an account that lets you demo or test their product. Though most demos may not enable you to use all their features, they often allow you to confirm device compatibility, view webcam footage, explore interactive tools, navigate tabs and toolbars, watch tutorials, and contact support. Each platform has its own unique layout and provisions. Becoming knowledgeable with the platform you are using for your online tutoring sessions will better equip you in providing your students with a smooth and engaging learning experience.
Incorporate interactive learning tools
The dynamics of online tutoring can be an adjustment at first when compared to in-person sessions. However, incorporating features or tools that allow you to interact with the student throughout the concept can greatly enhance your session. Some platforms provide a virtual whiteboard space that allows you and/or the student to see and write on simultaneously. These platforms will usually have other features such us document uploads. This will allow you to upload a worksheet so that all viewers can see and write on the document at the same time. Furthermore, students can print the document allowing them to have a hard copy for future practice or reference. If such features are unavailable, installing a dry erase board behind you will enhance your tutoring instruction. The more you can incorporate interactive features in your online session the greater the chance of overall effectiveness in your tutoring and ultimate satisfaction from your students.
Create an inviting learning space
An important factor especially in working with younger children is the visual display they see on their screen. Although most computers, phones, or tablets have their own cameras, investing in a webcam can improve the resolution, brightness, and overall quality of your visual display. If using a camera from a device, make sure the lighting is bright enough to be engaging for your student. Check your learning space for any clutter or unnecessary items that could become a distraction and remove them. Background color can help engage a learner as long as it is not over-powering. Soft, natural color tones can eliminate the white, sterile look without being distracting. Sometimes an inspiring saying in the background can also bring positive energy to your learning space.
Online learning can be a wonderful alternative to in-person tutoring if you are willing to make a few adaptive changes. Furthermore, it allows you to tutor students beyond your geographical location. It also gives you the freedom to tutor whenever you want without being dependent on another location being open and available. As many families are looking for help in preparing their child for the upcoming school year, becoming an online tutor can be both productive and rewarding.
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