Online private tutoring is a modality of tutoring that evolved from the access tutors and students have to video calls and the ease of accessing a class without having to travel to a classroom or someone's home.
Although it might seem like it's the same as in-person tutoring (the goals are the same) online tutoring needs a different approach to learning. It can be tricky because you don't have access to the same resources and tools you would have if the sessions were held face-to-face.
If you are teaching face-to-face it is easier to catch the student's attention and to see what exactly they are doing at all times. It is also easier to correct their assignment, check their homework, and overall see their improvement in the subject.
Teaching a course online is challenging because you don't share a space with your students and that could be distracting or disengaging for them. They could be playing around with their computers and not taking notes and it's the tutor's job to make sure their students are engaged and working.
However, with the help of technology engineers and programmers have created platforms, features, and virtual tools to help teachers and tutors who teach online.
In this article, we'll be sharing information about the tools available for tutors and our goal is to show you that there are many other helpful resources apart from video conference platforms (like Zoom).
So, continue reading to learn about digital whiteboards, how to make educational content and a nice learning environment, and learn about all the video conference platforms.
Check out our guide on becoming an online tutor.
Digital whiteboards —also called virtual or online whiteboards— are amazing software that has grown popular this past year with the implementation of virtual education during the lockdown.
Digital whiteboards are instrumental in maintaining efficient and effective collaboration between tutor and student. If you are an online tutor you should start using this tool during your lessons because it gives the illusion of having a whiteboard and being in a classroom.
It will allow you to have better communication with your student because you can ask them to show you their work through the whiteboard. This way you can make sure they are actually doing the assignment and you can observe their process and progress.
Nonetheless, digital whiteboards can be tedious, especially if you have to draw with your trackpad. It will take you a lot of practice to properly write letters and numbers, do operations or draw a diagram.
That's why we would advise you to practice using it before you start using it for a lesson. That way you can make sure you improve your skills and your students can understand what you are writing by the time you start using it for a lesson.
Keep in mind that the digital whiteboard is software that can be useful for any sort of lesson or subject. If you're teaching math, literature, science, or even if you're helping a student prep for an SAT.
Look for digital whiteboards on Google and see all the options available for free online. If you want more advanced software then you'll probably have to pay for a subscription to a more advanced and sophisticated whiteboard.
Learn about the differences between tutoring online and face-to-face.
Use content creation tools
Content creation is part of a tutor's job. If you want your students to have access to different studying material then you must prepare something for them to work on.
Content creation tools will allow you to create material for every lesson and also for your students to have and use during their own study time.
Keep in mind that, depending on your student's skills, you can ask them to produce material as part of an activity and then share it with you. The tools can also come in handy for them!
Here is a list of tools you could use to create content for your private online tutoring lessons:
- Visuals - students respond very well to diagrams, graphics, infographics, pictures, and any visualization of the course material. If you want to create visually pleasing and interactive presentations you can use Prezi or if you want to create a cool poster you can go to Canva.
- Video production - if you want to teach the same course to a bunch of different people you can record yourself and then send out the videos and make the lessons interactive. This can be handy because it would cut the number of times you would repeat yourself and many of these platforms are easy to use. You may use Filmora, Camtasia, or Screencast.
- Audio recording - if you're teaching an English or language course you may ask your students to send you audio recordings of oral exercises by using an app available on their phones
- Microsoft Office - teachers and tutors across the world use the Microsoft Office software for many different things. You can send homework, create presentations, manage a calendar, and much more.
- Find apps - there are apps for almost anything these days and you can find an app to help you with creating quizzes, flashcards, polls, mind maps, and much more.
Don't forget that technology is an amazing tool and your ally. But to find the perfect tools you must be creative because there are many options from which to choose. So, go to Google and start researching and looking for resources.
How can you become an online tutor?
If you're teaching multiple students of different ages and different subjects then you'll definitely need a tool to help you keep track of their work and progress.
Teachers usually use the software provided by the school they work for. However, if you are an independent tutor then you won't have access to those types of software, but don't worry, there are plenty of resources online.
Many tutors like to create spreadsheets on Excel, and that is a perfectly fine tool for anyone who has few students or teaches the same subject.
But, if you teach to students from all grades you'll need a system to keep track of the subject you're teaching them and the level they're at.
Or if you only teach math to seniors who need to prep for the Math SAT, you need a system to differentiate each student and their progress because not everyone will learn at the same pace.
Making sure to keep track of their work is as important as teaching them the subject which is why you really need to use a program that helps you organize all the information.
Continue reading to find out how you can advertise yourself as an online tutor.
Web conference platforms
Finally, you probably already knew that you'll need access to any conference platform that allows you to hold your lessons online. And you need to make sure your students have access to the same platform too.
There are many popular video chat outlets and there is no way of telling you which one is best than others since their function is pretty much the same. So, if you want to use the "best" one you will have to test out different ones and decide for yourself.
Keep in mind that many of these platforms are free but you can also pay a subscription to have access to more gadgets and features.
Here is a quick review of the most popular platforms:
- Zoom Meetings - is a teleconferencing program that offers a free plan and it allows up to 100 concurrent participants, with a 40-minute time restriction. Users have the option to upgrade by subscribing to a paid plan.
- Skype - this program specializes in providing videotelephony, videoconferencing, and voice calls. It also offers instant messaging, file transfer, debt-based calls to landline and mobile telephones.
- Adobe Connect - Adobe Connect is a suite of software for remote training, web conferencing, presentation, and desktop sharing. You can get it by creating an account with Adobe Acrobat.
- G Suite by Google - Google Workspace is a collection of cloud computing, productivity, and collaboration tools, software, and products developed by Google.
You can go directly to the home page of each platform and answer all the questions you might have about each of them.
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