Updated: Mar 1
Getting the Right Equipment for Virtual School
Setting up a virtual classroom can be easy; it depends on how you want it to be. If you are a teacher who wants to know the equipment needed for virtual school, this read is what you need.
If you are an online teacher, you will need to create effective learning, albeit online. There are a lot of things you can consider using to improve your teaching experience.
You will Need the Basics
It is practical, to begin with, the minimum requirements:
A stable internet connection
A computer, a laptop, tablet or a smartphone or tablet
A software tool to be used for live stream events or one that is made explicitly for virtual classrooms or schools.
Technically, you do not need the microphone; however, it is equally useful if you have it because it is a “practical necessity.”
You will need a computer that is capable of the software solution you will need. Examples include painting software to create or write equations or stick figures to illustrate a particular lesson. From there, the software tool will broadcast live, then record it for later viewing, but it can actually do both.
Finding the Right Computer for Your Virtual Class
You may live stream your classes with a laptop or desktop computer depending on your preferences. Either way, your PC should have the features that can allow you to uninterruptedly engage with your learners through a video call. If you are looking for mobility, laptops are a great option. On the other hand, if you prefer the traditional PC setup, you can choose a desktop computer.
Highlighted below are the features you should consider when choosing a computer for your virtual classes.
You will first interact with an operating system when trying to get a computer to help you live stream a session. Use operating systems designed by Microsoft since they are relatively cheap and easy to use. They also allow you to integrate your PC to other devices.
You may consider Mac OS if you are using a PC made by Apple. Chrome OS can also be an ideal OS option for your virtual class. Always choose an operating system that supports the hardware and software infrastructure of your PC.
If you want to live stream your sessions on a small-sized laptop, you may consider a display size of 11 to 13 inches. Mid-sized ones measure 15.6 inches while relatively bigger ones measure 17 inches in display size. The PC’s resolution should be 720 pixels and above to support video calls.
Your PC should have a storage size ranging between 250GB and 1TB to support the live streams. A larger storage size will also reduce the time it takes for your computer to start and launch programs. Cloud storage will be an ideal option if you want to save sensitive documents and files related to your virtual school.
You will need a high-speed processor such as AMD A series or Intel i3, i5 or i7 for your online classes. The professor will determine how fast your video feeds get to the local area network. You would not want to lose credibility with your learners when your PC is unequipped to handle live streams.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Your PC’s RAM will help determine the number of programs you can open and run at the same time. When carrying out an online class, you will want to use other programs on your PC to complement the teaching. If you are handling a small class, a 4GB RAM will work. If your class is big and it requires higher processing, go for a PC with 16GB worth of RAM.
Your PC should have at least two USB ports to allow you to plug in external media devices such a flash disk. If you are using a laptop to teach online, it should have a battery life of 5 to 10 hours to help you deal with power outages. You may need backlit keyboards if you are working in a low-light setting and a stylus if you are using a touch-enabled device.
Get Yourself a Fast and Reliable Internet Connection
Your Internet speeds will determine the quality of your live streams and the speed of transmission. Choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that will allow you to access Internet speeds of over 2mbps depending on the quality of the live classes. If you are relying on a Wi-Fi connection, keep the router away from devices such as the TV and microwaves to avoid interferences.
If you are using a broadband connection, opt for 3G or 4G networks for uninterrupted streams and adequate bandwidth. An Ethernet (Local Area Network) cable, which plugs directly to your PC, will help you remedy poor Wi-Fi connectivity. Take time to evaluate the different options you have when it comes to internet connections.
Install a High-quality Webcam on Your Computer
Your live streams will not be productive unless you invest in a high-quality webcam. Most laptops usually come with one pre-installed. However, if your goal is to deliver HD streams to your learners, choose a peripheral webcam that can support this quality. Companies such as Logitech and Microsoft are reputable for making peripheral webcam devices to suit different live streaming standards.
The built-in webcam in your laptop may be adequate if your classes do not need high-quality video feeds. Your webcam should have a minimum resolution of 640x480p, 30fps and 2MP. You can also get a tripod stand to enable you deliver online lectures while standing far from your PC.
You Can Create the Experience
How to Create the Experience of Face-to-Face Interaction, but with Digital Benefits
With just the webcam, microphone, and a computer with the appropriate software, it is easy to capture the same experience your students receive in a brick-and-mortar school set-up. Just place your webcam or your camera in a vantage point that will allow you to catch you while teaching.
If you are in the view of the camera and your students can hear you over the microphone, watching you online can create the same experience as if your class is in a regular classroom.
Some benefits come with conducting an online classroom. For one, a physical classroom cannot accept students from any part of the country or even the world, because your reach is limited to a local residence in your area. Remember that digital media is unique – it has a global reach.
Online classes are saved online in case a student misses the point or the entire class; they can easily catch up. Your previous lessons are available all the time, which is ideal for students enrolled in a virtual school.
It goes beyond the cyber teaching set-up. You can incorporate a few more tools into your teaching, which may be able to enhance the experiment far beyond what is readily available to conventional teaching methods.
There is a drawing pad tool wherein you can create sketches or write lessons. You can instantly share the content with a relatively unlimited audience. Technically, this cannot be used as a replacement for a mouse, but ergonomically speaking, this tool is helpful to both the students and their teachers.
On the other hand, if you are using a desktop, some complex geometries can be shown and used in the virtual classroom using CAD software to site an example.
You do not need to buy top-of-the-line equipment to get you started with your online classes. You can never go wrong with the basics of these suggestions for the necessary equipment needed for virtual learning school.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.
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