Equipment You Need for Online Tutoring

Teaching during the pandemic has turned the iconic job of education on its head. Should you teach at home or in school–or with a hybrid approach? How can you be effective with the new rules required to ensure safety while maximizing the students’ educational journey? Is it safe to enter the classroom? You’ve never taught remotely before–how do you do that and still meet your school’s education standards and curricula?

Many teachers are turning to homeschool co-ops or tutoring programs as reasonable approaches to pursuing a job they love in a way that allows students to succeed. If this is a choice you are making, here are suggestions from one of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors for equipment you’ll need to succeed in this new approach:

8 Props and Pieces of Equipment for Tutoring Students Online

The equipment and props you use when teaching your students online can make all the difference when it comes to how successful you are.

They can affect how engaging your lessons are, how much your students enjoy them, and even how professional you appear.

Choosing the right equipment and teaching tools is not just essential – your decisions can make or break your online teaching career.

Most online teaching platforms have basic requirements, like a high-quality headset, web tools, and a reliable internet connection, but there are other things you need to take into account before you start teaching online – things like good lighting and visual teaching aids can go a long way.

Here are eight things you’ll need to become a successful online teacher.

1. A Background

Most online teaching centers require their tutors to have some kind of professional backdrop behind them – this can be a blank wall that you’ve decorated with relevant classroom posters.

You can also set up a bulletin board behind you with your name and some interesting items that say something about your personality, like trinkets and souvenirs that relate to your hobbies. Setting up your virtual classroom can also be a great way to unleash your creativity!

You can also incorporate flags, ABCs, or a reward system into your bulletin board to keep your students more engaged.

2. Flashcards

Flashcards are a very useful tool when it comes to teaching online – especially for teaching English because they can help students memorize words and expand their vocabulary.

You can buy flashcards as sets in many toy stores, or you can make them yourself. There are also many online resources where you can download free, printable flashcards and templates.

3. Soft Toys and Puppets

If you are teaching kids, soft toys and fun sock puppets can be excellent teaching aids. You can use your puppets and soft toys to practice dialogues with your students, and plush animals can bring stories to life. Making your toys and puppets dance or move is a great way to engage with younger students.

Animals like lions, elephants, and tigers can help you teach about ecology and animal habitats around the world for geography and biology, and they can be extremely useful for vocabulary-building exercises when you teach languages.

4. Props From Everyday Life

Props from everyday life (also called “realia”) make for excellent teaching aids. Incorporating realia into your lessons is a chance to get creative with your teaching methods.

For instance, you can use everyday items like pencils, books, food, or anything else that comes to mind to teach vocabulary and other, more complicated concepts.

5. A Laptop Stand

A useful piece of equipment is an adjustable laptop stand – especially if you are a digital nomad teaching from different locations.

You can adjust a good laptop stand to your preferred height and angle, which is useful if you plan to teach standing up. An adjustable laptop stand will also minimize neck and shoulder stiffness when you are sitting in one position for prolonged periods because you can raise your screen to your eye level.

6. A Decent Headset

Most online teaching platforms require you to have a headset with a built-in microphone so that your students can hear you clearly.

A high-quality noise-canceling headset will also eliminate any background noise that may be a distraction for you and your students. Always make sure that the headset you choose is compatible with your laptop – not all computers (like some Macbooks) have a USB port.

7. Internet Connection

Although it is possible to teach while using WiFi, it is always better to use a wired internet connection when you are teaching students online. If your connection suddenly drops and you are disconnected from your student, most teaching platforms will give you a warning or deduct your pay.

Ethernet cables provide a faster and more reliable internet connection, and they can be plugged straight into your router.

8. Lighting

Having good lighting where you plan to teach from will improve the overall quality of your lessons, so invest in some decent lighting equipment, like a lamp and a selfie ring light.

Using a ring light will not only make your setup look more professional, but it will illuminate you so that your students can see you better. This is especially useful if you are teaching a language because your students will be able to see the shapes your mouth makes when you teach them sounds.

@studystack #tutoring #remotelearning


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Author: Jacqui
Welcome to my virtual classroom. I've been a tech teacher for 15 years, but modern technology offers more to get my ideas across to students than at any time in my career. Drop in to my class wikis, classroom blog, our internet start pages. I'll answer your questions about how to teach tech, what to teach when, where the best virtual sites are. Need more--let's chat about issues of importance in tech ed. Want to see what I'm doing today? Click the gravatar and select the grade.

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