What online platform should I use to tutor?
When we first moved into online tutoring in March 2020, we tried several different online platforms.
Facebook videos proved to be a disaster, which isn’t surprising really…
The connection and the quality of the video was poor. We couldn’t share screens at all, so it meant trying to hold pieces of paper up to the camera so that they could see what I was showing them. Resources (games, etc) had to created in much larger sizes and the counters would be stuck on with blue tack as we moved around the board.
But it was free and easily accessible to most.
I’ve also since learned that you can buy a camera that attaches to the computer. This camera will film your resources and project them onto your screen.
This proved to be a more effective online platform however, I have found it is still very limiting.
The features are still limited, but the quality of the video is (normally) far greater.
With Skype you can share your screen but the student you are working with can’t annotate it, so they are reliant on you annotating the screen with any working out. They need to talk you through it step by step.
Then we discovered Zoom as an online platform!
If you are working one to one with a student so there are only the 2 of you in a call, like the other platforms it is still free. If you are working with multiple students, you are restricted to 40-minute calls or you will need to up grade to a paid account.
As all out lessons are 1-to-1 this hasn’t yet proven to be an issue for us.
Zoom offers far better quality of calls and (providing you have good internet access) allows you to pass control over to the other person, meaning you can both to take control and annotate the screen.
Zoom also has a pen, highlighter, and shape feature (along with a few others). This means lessons can be far more interactive rather than relying on conversation.
Something else I like about zoom, which will seem trivial, is that you can log on a couple of moments early and wait for them to arrive. Whereas, with Skype, it is more like a phone call and it is reliant on you phoning them at the right time and them being ready to start.
All three of these are very simple platforms to use. Although other platforms are available, some which are specifically made for educators, at Clara James Tutoring, zoom has become our online platform of choice. If you are thinking of starting an online tutoring business this would be my firm recommendation.