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Need advice on the technical side

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by DebbieMcGee, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. DebbieMcGee

    DebbieMcGee New commenter

    Hi all,
    I am staring out in private tutoring and have a couple of online students. I need to make my operation a bit slicker without much cost... At the moment I'm using Skype and the computer's camera, which gives a lovely pic of my useless face, and no pic of the very important worksheet / workings etc I'm talking about. When I use a whiteboard, my students see it in mirror image - no good! I don't have the capital to invest in software like wiziq at the moment.. so I'm looking for low-fi solutions. Should I by a second webcam or would that be mirror image too? Would you be so kind as to describe your set up?
  2. DebbieMcGee

    DebbieMcGee New commenter

    Sorry? I have asked for advice about tutoring on a tutoring advice forum. Have I over stepped a line?
    langteacher likes this.
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    You can expect experienced & established tutors to provide their newly arrived competition with details of the technical operations they have devised themselves and upon which their business success rests.

    I am sure you can work things out for yourself, given a little time, but if you feel you need technical or other support then perhaps you should consider working for a tutoring agency.
  4. DebbieMcGee

    DebbieMcGee New commenter

    Thanks Vince! What a doll
    sebedina, briancant and langteacher like this.
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I appreciate you are frustrated at this time but you cannot simply ask independent professionals to 'describe your set up'. My advice is to search for a different whiteboard, but you should find that most mid-range cameras will allow you to reverse orientation. Check specifications before you buy.
  6. DebbieMcGee

    DebbieMcGee New commenter

    I can, and do, ask what I want. Feel free to answer - or not! I find most people helpful and kind.
    markbamforth and langteacher like this.
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I find that some people will freeload from helpful & kind people if they can get away with it

    This is a forum for private tutors, it is not a cooperative.
  8. DebbieMcGee

    DebbieMcGee New commenter

    Freeloader? You are getting personal.
    markbamforth and langteacher like this.
  9. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    No, I am not, just as you were not accusing me of being unhelpful & unkind.

    Take the advice. Avoid false economies but know what you are buying.
  10. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Try ziteboard. Shared whiteboard, you can import pdf worksheets into it.
    cathr and langteacher like this.
  11. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    Idroo is also useful, it's free to use but you have to pay now to import pdfs etc. An alternative is to email the worksheet and use idroo or ziteboard or an other to write.

    A graphics tablet would also help, you can pick them up quite reasonably on ebay. It's much easier than trying to write on a screen.
  12. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Try zoom online software, it let's you screen share, has an interactive whiteboard function and is free. It also records your session so you send this to the student to review anything you've covered.

    Bit paper is meant to be very good too.
    markbamforth likes this.
  13. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Lowest tech: send them a copy of the worksheet / document. I've done this occasionally when I've had to do telephone tuition (for very good reasons, no further technology was possible). On one occasion, I sent a fill-the-gaps sheet that we could work through together over the phone - I now know that it helps to number the lines for easy reference.

    I think AdobeConnect offer a free version for unlimited use with up to 3 participants - you can't record, but it might be worth a try. (I don't know if that's 3 participants at a time, or only the same 3 participants ever, which could make a big difference.)
    markbamforth likes this.
  14. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    If I could help you I would but I don't do online. Most of us are helpful
    markbamforth likes this.
  15. cathr

    cathr Occasional commenter

    Would sharing Google documents be helpful? It's free.
    markbamforth likes this.
  16. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    That doesn't work for me - with physics/maths the use of symbols and equations complicates it too much. Plus there's the writing on pdf thing.

    But I can imagine that for subjects which are more 'wordy' it might work very well.
  17. rachel_g41

    rachel_g41 Established commenter

    Can confirm this. I have done some physics tutoring online and need something more than google docs, BUT am currently learning a language with an online tutor and for that, google docs works perfectly.

    I suppose it depends on subject/topic/style of teaching.
  18. TheLondonTutor

    TheLondonTutor New commenter

    I use www.bitpaper.io as an online whiteboard + Bamboo graphics tablet for smooth, legible writing + Zoom with shared screen so they can see me writing live.

    Bramble.io is also recommended by an agency I work with.
  19. markbamforth

    markbamforth New commenter

  20. jean_daligault

    jean_daligault New commenter

    You should be able to have your webcam image not reversed on Skype (by default?). Your face is also definitely not useless, communication is easier with a visual. I like drawing on a (physical) whiteboard much more than on a digital one.

    You can share your screen when you need to (worksheet, ...), same for your student. Google Hangouts is slightly better in this respect, as both participants can share their screen at the same time. As a computer science tutor, my student often shares their code most the time, and sharing mine ("here's how you could also do it") forces them to re-share afterwards on Skype.

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