The field of Education has seen some real changes over the past few months, and one of the biggest changes to the field of Education are the amount of children, young adolescents, and even college students who are learning from home through the use of various online platforms.  These online sites provide students with an online learning environment in which to engage with their classmates and teachers in a safe and collaborative way from the comfort of their own homes.  Many students have learned to adapt to this new way of learning, while other more tech-savvy students prefer and thrive with this mode of learning. Technology teachers and instructors can aid others in perfecting this new way of learning.

Here are some helpful tips and the equipment needed for PC Computer or Laptop Computer users who are looking to teach general education and other classes online:

  1. Online Teachers should have a reliable internet service provider. An internet service provider that provides internet speeds of up to 25 Mbps is useful for basic web surfing online, checking emails from your school or company, social networking, and basic video use for up to 1 or 2 devices.  Although free wifi connectivity for using the internet is helpful, having a directly wired connection may prove to be more reliable.  To do this, an Ethernet cable may be required.  This cable plugs directly from the router box that provides the internet service to the computer.  To accomplish this, take the Ethernet cable and plug it into the Ethernet port on the router box.  Then, plug the other end into the Ethernet port on the back of your pc computer tower.  If it is an all in one computer, this port will be built into the back of the screen. Plugging an Ethernet cable directly into the computer will ensure a faster and more reliable internet (Resource: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/internet-speed-what-you-need,news-24289.html)

Internet Service Provider

Social Networking

Emails

Social Networking

  1. PC Desktop Computer or Laptop for Online Teaching. Although having a smaller tablet computer may be more affordable, it is also more compact in size.  Using a PC Desktop Computer or a laptop is required and may be best, as the screen is larger and can accommodate the needs of online teaching more effectively.  As more students can be seen on a bigger screen, this also helps with accomplishing learning objectives more readily and especially with understanding speech and pronunciation tasks, which is common for resource support and speech teachers.  Using a laptop computer will require that it be fully charged for everyday use, which is another consideration for online teaching that pc desktop users will not experience.  Also, aside from having a reliable and wired internet connection, the types of tasks that online teachers engage in will require a certain amount of RAM memory as well, especially for those looking to save their students’ work on their personal computers.  A minimum of 4 GB of RAM or more is required for computer memory, and even more may be needed depending upon the size of storage needed.  If a computer does not have at least 4 GB of RAM memory, then performance may be affected, and online teachers may not have the storage capacity needed for keeping online files and documents, which will be a necessity for online teaching for general classes. 

To check the amount of RAM memory that is installed on the computer, go to the computer icon on the screen and right click the image using the mouse to go to Properties.  The amount of RAM that is on the computer, and how much is available, will be shown here. A computer’s processing speed to handle various tasks is also important. 

PC Desktop Computer

Laptop Computer

Tablet Computer

Computer RAM Memory

Processing Speed 

Mouse

  1. A functional and good quality webcam. A webcam is a device that is used to view a picture or video of the online instructor, and is especially useful for engaging younger students in the online learning process.  Without a webcam, the student does not have a clear image of the instructor, and this may actually deter a child from reaching their learning goals.  Also, online teachers who use a webcam can actually view their class in real time, and this helps with online classroom management goals as well. 

While some computers come with a webcam built into the computer screen, others do not, so purchasing an external webcam is an essential tool for online learning objectives.  The resolution of the webcam is also important, as teachers will find that the higher the resolution is, the clearer their picture will appear.  A resolution of at least 640p will be sufficient for the best picture quality. 

Webcam with Good Picture Resolution

  1. A Headset with Built-In Microphone. For online teaching purposes, a headset is required and comes with a built in 3.5mm cord that plugs directly into the personal computer.  Look for the headset icon on the computer tower or screen to plug into.  A headset with a built-in microphone is required to communicate with students and other staff members, and once the headset is plugged in, the computer you are using will automatically identify the new equipment.  Also note that on the computer’s Start menu, in the Control Panel settings, teachers can adjust the Sound settings by setting the Default Communication device in the playback menu.  A list of all sound devices that are currently being used are shown in the playback menu under Sound.  Also, each sound device that is installed can be tested and configured from this menu as well to ensure for proper functionality. 

If a headset with a built-in microphone is not available, then separate headphones can be used with a stand-alone desktop microphone.  To use this for online teaching, the headphones should be plugged into the desktop microphone using a 3.5mm cord, much like the headset cord. The 3.5 mm cord is then plugged into the stand-alone desktop microphone, which should come with a port to plug in the headphones.  Also, the desktop microphone will come with a mini-USB cord that will be used to plug into the computer’s USB port, which is rectangular in shape.

Once the headphones and the stand-alone desktop microphone are plugged into the computer, the devices will then be recognized by the computer, and will be listed as active in the Control Panel’s available sound equipment on the computer.

Headset/Headphones with microphone

3.5mm cords

USB Cord

Desktop Microphone

Start Button on Computer- Control Panel- Sound 

5.  Speakers.  Speakers are used to produce sound, and while some computers do come with built-in speakers, such as all-in-one computers, others do not.  Having speakers will make sounds possible.

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