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Tricks for Teaching Better Online: You Can Do It

Devika S
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As the strict lockdown measures by the government continue, more and more schools are looking at new innovative methods to continue the teaching-learning process despite the pandemic at hand. Because, while the immediate safety of everyone is supreme, we also cannot forget the tomorrow that awaits us.

Once schools’ resume after the months-long lockdown, teachers would not be left with much time to finish their syllabus. With all the teaching time that is being lost, the teachers will be forced into running a race against time. This would lead to taking dire measures such as extra classes in the evenings and weekends, cancellation of all other extracurricular events etc. 

But such a race will only create more burden for the students and lead to greater chances of incomplete learning and knowledge gaps. To prevent such a scenario, many schools are opening up to the idea of online classrooms. While it is yet to gain popularity in India, it is a method of learning which is very common in many other parts of the world. Through this method, students can easily learn within the comfort of their home!

The Live Lecture feature of NextLMS, a Next Education initiative, ensures an interactive and fulfilling virtual learning experience. Next Education is one of the leading ed-tech service providers in the country. The NextLMS is just one among their many initiatives to make Indian classrooms 21st-century ready.

The Live Lecture feature was developed with the comfort of the student and teacher in mind. But as first-time users adapted to the traditional methods of teaching, many teachers might still face certain challenges. 

Here are a few essential tips and tricks to make your live lectures more successful!

Tips to prepare for the class

Ensure Good Lighting

  1. Remember that the camera adjusts the amount of light entering its sensors depending on the brightness.
  2. The room should be lit appropriately. The lighting should neither be too dark or too dim. 
  3. The lack of lighting will make the video appear grainy, whereas a too-bright screen means the student cannot clearly see the teacher.
  4. Make sure that you are facing the light. If the light source is situated behind you, your face will appear dark on the screen that means you should not stand against a window or any other bright surface. 

Set Up Your Background

  1. A dark background such as black, blue or green works best.  You can simply hang a dark coloured cloth behind you for this.
  2. Try to ensure that your attire is in contrast to the background so that the students can see you better. So if you are against a dark background, wearing lighter shades would be a wise idea.

Keep an Eye on Attire

The right attire gives a more professional touch to your sessions and also makes it easier for the students to concentrate. Here is what you should keep in mind when you choose your attire for the day.

  1. Try to wear clothes that contrast with your background. 
  2. Dress as if you would for a regular class in school.
  3. Avoid wearing checkered clothes as well as pure white clothes.  
  4. In addition to this, make sure to not wear any extra ornaments.

Ensure good connectivity

The quality of your class will be affected by the speed of your internet. So, do not forget to ensure you have good connectivity!

You can easily run a speed test to check the speed of your internet connection. Ideally, you should have 2mbps for both uploads and download for SD quality and higher for HD. If you are below 400kbps, video streaming may not work.

Tips to help you while you are live

Remove Unwanted Sounds

Children have a very little attention span and might get easily distracted by background noises. 

  1. Eliminating background noises such as fans, AC etc. and using a headset will help you minimise echo.
  2. The rustling of the mic against your clothes will create disruptions in the audio. So keep the mic close to your mouth. You can also loop the earbud around your earlobe to ensure that the mic sits snugly, right below your lower lip.
  3. Try not to breathe into the mic. You can use your hand as a separator just below your nose.
  4. If you are inaudible to the students and do not have a headset, find out where the microphone of your device is located and try to speak into it.
  5. Remember to disconnect your headphones before playing an audio/video file on your computer for the students.

Pay Attention to  Your Camera

Disruptions caused by camera movements make it difficult for students to concentrate. So, make sure that your camera is stationary. Not only does holding the camera in your hand ruin the video experience for your students, but it will also tire your arms.

  1. Try to use a laptop or desktop rather than a phone to ensure a stable camera as well as a bigger display.
  2. Figure out where the camera of your phone or computer is and ensure that you are looking directly at it while speaking. This way the students will feel you are directly looking at them while taking the class.

Don’t Burden Your Device

Video Processing is a heavy task and therefore you should take care not to pile too much work on your device! 

  1. Close all unnecessary applications/ windows/services to make the live lecture perform better.
  2. Treat the live lectures no different from a classroom lecture, so no multitasking in between a session.
  3. If you are delivering the lecture through your phone, mute all notifications and turn on silent mode before starting the lecture
  4. While sharing your screen with your students, remember to disable all popup notifications. Not only does it distract them from the session, but it can also be a threat to your privacy.

Now that you know what to take care of while preparing for the class and while delivering it, let us see some quick DIY hacks which will help you conduct your classes with greater ease!

Tips and Tricks to make your Own Tools

1. Make your own phone holder

Not all teachers may have a laptop at their disposal. So they will have to resort to taking classes using their mobile cameras. This becomes cumbersome as they would either need someone else to hold the camera for the length of the lecture or buy a phone holder.

But what if you can make your own phone holder? Let us see some simple ways for this.

Using cardboard paper

  1. Take a thick cardboard paper and cut it into a rectangular shape.
  2. Fold the cardboard paper and cut out a half oval shape from the top through the middle as shown in the video below.
  3. Open the paper, and fit the phone in between the cut halves.
  4. Your phone holder is ready!

Using a plastic bottle

  1. Take a plastic bottle and cut off its top part.
  2. Mark a ‘V’ shape on two opposite sides of the remaining bit.
  3. Cut the ‘V’ shapes away.
  4. Now insert the mobile in this empty space.
  5. Your phone holder is ready!

Using a ruler and rubber band.

In case you are writing something and want the phone to be horizontal, focused on the paper, here is what you can do. 

All you need is a ruler, rubber band and a stack of books

  1. Tie the phone to a ruler with a rubber band
  2. Stack up your books near where you are writing
  3. Insert the free end of the ruler in between the books to hold it in position
  4. Adjust the paper you are writing on till it is directly beneath the camera of the phone.

2. Make your own whiteboard

Most teachers are very used to the blackboard. So suddenly taking a lecture without the assistance of one proves to be very difficult. You often want to write something down for the students to take down, or draw a diagram or just make a note of something. Here are a few DIY solutions to help you write while using live lectures.

All you need is some paper, glue and plastic sheets!

  1. Take four sheets of white a4 paper and glue their ends together to make a large rectangular sheet.
  2. Take a large plastic sheet and cover the white paper with it.
  3. Staple the plastic sheet to the white paper, so that it is secure.
  4. Your own DIY whiteboard is ready!

If you do have a whiteboard at your disposal and want to write on it while taking the lesson, here is what you can do!

All you need is a chair, a pole/umbrella, rope and a mobile holder

  1. Tie the pole/long umbrella to the back of the chair
  2. Adjust the length depending on how close you want the camera to be.
  3. You can use rope or shoelace for this
  4. Tie the mobile holder to the top of the pole with a rope
  5. Keep the mobile on the holder
  6. Your DIY phone holder is ready!
Devika S
Devika S

Devika S is a copywriter at Next Education India Pvt Ltd. She has completed her Masters in English from the University of Hyderabad. Being a language enthusiast, Devika is well-versed in the Chinese language. She is a passionate reader and ardent listener of a wide variety of music.

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