Online Tutoring Business: Top Technology Tools
There is no denying that you need top-notch technology tools for your online tutoring business if you want to be successful as a tutor. On the one hand, the pandemic has paved the way for a permanent shift to remote learning. While on the other hand technology has moved by leaps and bounds to address the needs of virtual tutoring jobs.
At the very basic level, tutors and students interact over tech interfaces such as video chat and online whiteboard. Educators seriously considering how to start an online tutoring business have gone even further in adopting highly functional technology tools to assist their online tutoring jobs. A wide spectrum of online tutoring and remote learning technology tools have emerged in recent times. Now, you’ll find several providers of virtual classroom software, collaboration tools for multi student virtual tutoring jobs, document sharing tools, screen recording and homework management apps.
One thing is clear. Technology has not only adapted to online tutoring and remote learning needs, but it has enabled it and paved the way for its immense popularity. If you want to become an online tutor with a cutting-edge toolkit under your belt, read on.
Video Chat and Virtual Classroom Software
Whether you’re looking at a one-on-one online tutoring job or a group tutoring session, you need a location, a room – a virtual classroom. Virtual classroom software allows face-to-face interaction between the tutor and the pupil in an online tutoring job. Popular online free video chat tools have been doubling up in recent times as virtual classrooms for many tutors starting online sessions.
Why we need virtual classrooms
To making online learning a reality, we need a virtual classroom software that is rich in functionality and as close to the real classroom experience as possible. Here’s why. Each subject has a specific method of instruction in order to teach it efficiently. Subjects like math need a whiteboard whereas literature doesn’t. Science projects often need collaboration. Not all subjects transfer well from a tutor to the pupil in an online tutoring environment unless there’s advanced technology to support it.
The most critical function of a good virtual classroom software is real-time communication, like a live video chat. Secondly, a virtual classroom must provide interactive whiteboard to give the tutor something to write on while imparting the lesson. For a seamless remote learning experience, the virtual classroom software must possess functions such as note sharing and attendance tools.
Often one single software may not be sufficient to get all the functionalities. You may need to access a few different technologies so that you’re well equipped for your online tutoring job.
The most popular video chat tools for online tutoring business
Skype, a Microsoft product, has always been around for web calls and video conferences. This is a free video chat tool. There are pros and cons to using Skype live video chat for online tutoring jobs. It’s free and easy to download. It has file share, screen share and live chat functionalities making it great for online tutoring sessions. Group online video chat makes it easy for up to 50 students to assemble for a session. Assigning homework and discussing due dates are fast, face-to-face and real-time through Skype’s group video calling. However, sometimes the tool can be buggy and voice quality is dependent on bandwidth.
Google Hangouts video chat is a very popular virtual classroom tool for engaging up to 24 students in real time. It is perfect for virtual tutoring jobs even for small groups. Even though it wasn’t created as a virtual classroom software for online tutoring, you can utilize the “Screen Share” feature along with the additional tools such as Google Docs. It is accessible via your browser, so you don’t need to download or install anything to be able to use Google online video chat. You just need a google account. This is a free video chat tool.
You can play a video, discuss a document or present your slides while you share your computer screen. You can record your Google Hangout live video chat too. So, your pupils can revisit your online tutoring class at their own time. This is particularly useful if you’re providing drop-in online tutoring sessions where some pupils are unable to attend the session. Google Hangout meet doesn’t have an online whiteboard tool built in. However, you can use other whiteboards from the Google Suite such as Chrome Canvas and Google Jamboard.
Zoom chat is a live free video chat tool for remote learning that became popular during the pandemic. This is not a fully free video chat tool, however. Its free version is limited for up to 3 participants and has a 40min time cap per session. It allows file sharing, screen sharing and video recording. Zoom chat has features to regulate online tutoring, and help teachers interact in a remote setting effectively. If you’re trying to manage a group, Zoom chat gives you control of the batch. This online video chat tool is ideal for large batch tutoring or for webinars and lectures. Tutors can limit screen sharing, lock chat access and remove participants from the virtual classroom.
WebEx is a video conferencing software built by Cisco with features and functions specifically designed for teachers and students. It allows online tutors to display presentations, host webinars, stream videos, etc., allowing interactive learning. Tutors can use their chat systems and online whiteboard making remote learning very close to an authentic classroom experience. Apart from being easy to use, WebEx offers boundless online sessions, integrated audio systems and tools to share content. Teachers and students can record classes for future reference. This is a free video chat tool. It has fileshare, screen share and video recording capabilities.
What tutors miss the most in online tutoring jobs is the convenience of sitting next to a pupil and explaining things by scribbling on paper or a whiteboard. You would feel the absence sharply if you have to teach maths online. Even in science tutoring jobs where there are symbols and notations to be used, it’s quite tedious teaching on traditional video chats. You’ll need an online whiteboard tool that reflects your teaching instructions real-time. This will also allow your students to pipe in on the same canvas real-time. Many apps fulfilling this function and much more have sprung up in recent times. Many of them require devices like iPads, tablets and styluses. However, some innovative virtual whiteboard apps are compatible with standard operating systems and hence don’t need tablets. Here are some of the top whiteboard technologies out there for online tutoring.
The most popular virtual whiteboards tools
Scribblar is a browser-based online whiteboard that has been designed specifically for use in online tutoring jobs. Students can see the tutors write and draw live along with a live audio feature. Students can participate in the discussions as well. These whiteboards can be saved for future reference. This is a great tool particularly if you have your own online tutoring business website. You can integrate Scribblar into your website. This online whiteboard app allows document or file sharing as well.
AWW is an online whiteboard app that provides teaching tools and real-time collaboration for computers and smartphones. Since it is a web-based platform, student can access it from anywhere. A unique feature of the AWW app whiteboard is that the interface has a dotted grid for ease of drawing and also a text tool that lets you scribble notes on the board. Your pupils can contribute to the canvas and add notes to the whiteboard with your control. However, the free version doesn’t let you save whiteboards. It’s a good whiteboard app for one-on-one tutoring. It’s also a great way to embed a whiteboard on your online tutoring business website.
This is a classic tablet app for online white boarding and is powered by Google Cloud. Jamboard is positioned as a collaboration tool for tutors and students. It allows you to quickly pull in images from a Google search, save work to the cloud automatically. It has an easy-to-read handwriting and shape recognition tool (called AutoDraw like Autocorrect). You draw with a stylus but erase with your finger just like a real whiteboard.
It works seamlessly with other popular remote learning tools such as Google docs. You can insert Docs, Sheets, Slides, or images (including GIFs) from your Google Drive into Google Jamboard. It works more like slides rather than scrolling. The best part is anyone can use as part of the G-suite. If you’re into online tutoring jobs for small groups, Google Jamboard along with Google Hangout Meet is a great way to get some collaborative interaction going in your session.
Miro is a popular online whiteboard used as a visual project management tool for enterprises. It is positioned as an online tutoring tool for collaborative and interactive remote learning. It has some attractive features like tools such as a zoomable whiteboard, freehand drawing, and integration with tools such as Dropbox and Google Suite. However, there’s a lot more going on there that support businesses with prototyping, tables and charts, business canvases, design thinking, project management, brainstorming and creative sessions. This could be very useful for advanced courses such as engineering level virtual tutoring jobs. However, it may be too complex for school level tutoring jobs.
Screen recording and video editing
Many of the popular free video chat apps have a video recording function that is widely used in online tutoring. However, there are apps that record the activities on your screen for the purpose of creating educational content or simply for recording online tutoring sessions with students. These days, educational videos have become very popular because they follow formats that are great for remote learning. But you need advanced editing tools in order to create them which are not available if you just use the screen recording features of a regular video chat app. To put this in perspective, tutoring has moved from chalk and boards to online whiteboards to videos. If you plan to start an online tutoring business on scale, you would need editing tools to seed educational content on your website.
Bandicam is easy to use system for recording lessons even if you’re new to it. It supports dual functions because you can use both your webcam and screen recording at the same time. You can highlight elements on your screen while recording the lesson and share the file easily to YouTube or Vimeo. The only drawback is that it’s only designed for Windows users.
Camtasia is a robust screen recorder for teachers with Windows and macOS. This is primarily a video editing tool and cannot record an online tutoring session. However, it’s a good tool for common educational video formats with a wide choice of editing functions. It’s a very professional looking screen recorder for tutors with a few limitations when it comes to creating tutorials and demonstration videos.
If you just want a simple, no-fuss screen recorder with no additional editing that is free to use, then CamStudio is a good option. If you’re simply recording student sessions and wish to do nothing more with the recording, then this is a good pick. It is a free screen recorder for online tutoring, but it only supports Windows operating system.
Have you ever wondered how you’re going to assign and review homework for your pupils? There’s the good old Google Docs for homework submissions and for collaboration. It is normally sufficient for one-to-one online tutoring jobs. But technology has taken homework management to another level for classroom style remote learning.
This tool is ideally suited if you have a classroom like environment or a batch of students per session. What Google Classroom Assignments lets you do is, you can post assignments, either immediately, save a draft, or schedule it for a later time. After students complete and turn in their work, the teacher can grade and return the assignments back to the students.
Tech is the way forward for online tutoring business
If you have perfect teaching skills and want to learn how to start an online tutoring business the next step is understanding technology and making it work effortlessly for you. The whole virtual tutoring sector is hinged on technology. So, be sure to carry out your own research and experiment with the free versions of a few tools before you pay up.
The truly tech savvy tutors are even exploring online course builders and project management tools to lift the quality of their tutoring to professional standards. Given the direction in which the remote learning sector is moving, going pro with technology isn’t a bad move.
We at ViTutors run a platform to support your dreams to become an online tutor. Vitutors is an online tutoring marketplace where students and parents can hire tutors from anywhere in the world for all levels and budgets. Please check our pages at Vitutors.com to learn more.