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What Equipment do I need to tutor online?

It can be confusing to know what equipment is the best to use for teaching online. There are loads of different options, brands, ratings and prices. You might be asking, do I go for a laptop or a tablet or a combo? iPad or Android? Do I need a stylus? What on earth is a Graphics Tablet?

This post will make a few suggestions, based on the expertise of our long-time online teachers, that are in most teachers budgets.

Let’s start at the beginning, what hardware do you have already?

The only things needed to have an online lesson are:

A laptop or desktop with a webcam (recommended), tablet or smartphone. Ideally with at least 4GB of RAM.A reliable internet connection. Ideally with at least a 10Mbps line speed.The latest version of a modern web browser (we recommend Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).

The general rule of thumb is, if you are able to use your set up to have a Zoom or Skype call, Lessonspace will work. Below are some basic equipment recommendations on how to further improve your online teaching experience.

There are four main ways you can improve your teaching experience:

Headphones & Microphone
External Drawing Tablets (aka Graphics Tablets)

1. Laptops:

Without going into too much detail, as there are hundreds of different laptops options out there. If you are looking for a new laptop to purchase, when taking into account the price vs. capabilities here are some things to consider:

Ideally 4GB+ RAM. Getting up to 8GB is perfect. Anything more won’t add significant benefit.Touchscreen, some of the most modern laptops have touchscreens. This is a great feature to add for teaching online.(Optional Extra) Pair your touch screen with a stylus pen and write better than pen on paper.

2. Internet:

Our online tutoring was designed to work well under poor internet connectivity conditions. For an uninterrupted lesson you need to have an internet speed of at least 5Mb/s download, and at least 3Mb/s upload. Try to be as close to the WiFi router as possible - or, if possible, use a computer with a wired network connection. If you are experiencing issues during your lesson, ensure that you or anyone else on the network are not downloading anything.

We recommend the following browsers:

Google Chrome
On Mac (Safari or Chrome)

3. Headphones & Microphone:

As an online tutor, you need to hear and be heard. Although your computer speakers and mic will do, unless you’re in a soundproof room, you are going to be competing with outside noise. A quality headset will ensure you hear only what’s important: your students.

Most headsets include both headphones and a mic. The ones you get free with a smartphone usually work well. However, if you are in the market for buying a headset read this article, it's informative and written by those who know.

4. External Drawing Tablets (aka Graphic Tablets):

Adding a graphics tablet to your laptop or desktop will improve your control of the pen tool on the whiteboard. A graphics tablet gets plugged into your computer and enables you to hand-draw images as you would with a pencil and paper. They take a bit of getting used to, but once you've learned how to use them, graphics tablets can make you much faster and more precise than using a mouse.

These are the best (quality and affordability) graphics tablets we've found:

One by Wacom Medium ($60)
Parblo A610 Pro ($80)
Parblo A640 ($30).
Wacom Intuos ($79.56)
GAOMON M10K PRO ( ($78.99 ) 
HUION New 1060 Plus ($74.99) 

A neat alternative to a graphics tablet is to link an iPad/tablet to your computer/laptop and use that as the drawing device with a stylus.

Finally, start tutoring and see what works best for you. In the screenshots below we have included examples of lessons taught using the whiteboard with the equipment mentioned. This will give you an idea of how interactive, exciting and engaging your lessons can be!

In Home & Test Prep with Top College Students