eTutoring Business Support For Tutors
I would like to start my online tutoring business teaching Mathematics,
after obtaining a PhD degree, but I don't know what technical tools I would
need for that.
Apart from a Skype connection to speak with my students, I would need
something, if it exists, like an electronic paper connected through a USB
port, such that I could write on the electronic paper and what I write appears
on the students' screen.
Teaching Mathematics requires writing and drawing, therefore I would find
very difficult doing that without proper technical tools.
Do you have any hints about that? Is there any other technical stuff that I am
not considering here, which could turn out useful?
Hi Francesco, Yes you guessed it right.You would need a digital pen and pad. I am online teacher in a tutoring company in India teaching Mathematics to US students for last two years.I am however 200 % sure Mr Scott would guide you better and provide you all kinds of help you need to set up your own online tutoring.I am trying to send you the picture of the digital pen and pad that I am using.If you have further any query you can write your question on this forum. I am sure you will definitely get right guidance from the people who have joined this forum.
Hi Amit, may I ask you a few questions? If you have a moment, I would be grateful to you is you could reply.
(i) When you write something on that little board, does it appear in real time on the screen of your student,
or do you first need to record it and then send it to him/her as a file?
(ii) I both the aforesaid cases I believe you can record the lessons. What is the easiest way to do that?
(iii) How does the student share with you his/her written stuff? Either he has the same technical tools, or he/she needs to have a good webcam (or also scanner to create pdf files and mail them to you). What do your students do in this respect?
(iv) How do you manage to get paid? Paypal, or other ways, or both?
(v) If you were willing to do so, could we have a 5 mins try with me as a student and you with your digital pen, just as if I were a student, so that I can get an idea of how it works?
(vi) What is your background? What kind of sstudents do you tutor?
Many thanks in advance, Amit, I look forward to hearing from you.
I'll answer your questions below.
1. Yes, it should be real time. You can see an example at TutorFi.com/demo.asf.
2. Some online classrooms will have the record option, but most do not. What reason exactly would you want that for?
3. I recommend google docs to share student documents. This way you can see the exact problems your student needs help with.
4. My recommendation is to use paypal and especially paypal's virtual terminal to process credit cards. The virtual terminal costs $30 per month, but it's worth it if you have monthly accounts. You don't want to send bills and wait to get paid. Instead, have the cc on file and run it as the parent agrees verbally every month.
5. Someone might work with you inside the online classroom, but you need to decide which platform you want to test. If you have all that lined up and then ask, someone will probably volunteer to help you.
Hope that helps!
Even though you asked Amit for an answer, let me just mention that there is a significantly higher-quality way to input handwriting but you would have to use a Windows-style tablet-pc for that (as far as I know). Also, you would have to be able to use a shared whiteboard that is fully compatible with such a tablet-pc (in the sense of giving you a quality of handwriting that is practically in distinguishable from real handwriting on screen and when printed out on paper).
Other solutions reduce the input from a graphics tablet (or even a tablet-pc) to a mere mouse-trace: which means it has just the resolution of the screen and does not include pressure variation. Such handwriting will look pixelated when printed out on paper (that is: it will look quite ugly).
As regards you wanting to record an entire tutoring session: I don't think this is very useful for the student. Much better, if he can get a decent paper-copy of the contents of the whiteboard after a tutoring session (provided that paper-copy looks really nice, of course), because having to listen to an entire tutoring session again is rather tedious and time-consuming. To put it paradoxically, I think the very completeness (blind alleys, detours, warts and all) of such a recording is what makes it mostly useless for the student. Rather, what the student needs after a session is an abbreviated, summary representation of what happened. A representation that he can easily overview and mark up with further comments himself.
My students either mail me scanned documents in advance or can scan them directly into the whiteboard during a tutoring session. I usually buy copies of the textbook that a student uses so that I can do the scanning / inserting of exercise statements into the whiteboard myself. Very few of my students have a graphics tablet (even fewer of them have a tablet-pc with a stylus). This reduces the student to talking and, maybe, marking something on the whiteboard with a highlighter. This is much like face-to-face tutoring if I am standing at a whiteboard and the student is sitting at his desk.
I definitely agree with you Christian! Printing out each lesson vs recording and replaying it as a student is much more effective.
A printed version is all the student needs to review what was reviewed with the tutor. In most cases, they are able to recall the details of the lesson with a printed version come quiz or test time.
You wrote: "(i) When you write something on that little board, does it appear in real time on the screen of your student,or do you first need to record it and then send it to him/her as a file?"
but didn't get an answer.
My answer would be that, yes, what you write will essentially appear in "real time" on the screen of the student. However, there may be small, mostly aesthetic differences.
For example, my own whiteboard only sends a complete ink-stroke after I have lifted the stylus for reasons of efficiency. This way, an entire stroke can be transmitted with a single packet of information over the internet. Unfortunately, since the strokes appear suddenly as a whole, my writing on the screen of the tablet-pc would (in a first version of my whiteboard) appear in sudden increments of entire strokes to the student, which is a little unnatural.
After a while I figured that it was easily possible to make my handwriting appear much more natural to the student by having the whiteboard draw a new stroke that it receives from the internet not as a whole but incrementally, in an "animated" fashion. You can see a video that shows the difference between these two modes of drawing ink strokes (as they are received from the internet) at the bottom of my page http://www.mathcoach.ch/Frame/Deutsch/NetDeskSharp.html
Moral: How natural your handwriting will appear to the student may somewhat depend on the particular shared whiteboard that you are going to use. Still, your handwriting should at least appear ink-stroke after ink-stroke. There is a (usually very small) communication delay (a fraction of a second, probably - at least in the case of my own whiteboard that does not have to send the ink stroke to a server, and then have the server send it to the student), but this delay is hardly noticeable by the student since about the same delay separates all strokes.
Its quite a long time.
Can you please suggest on this. At source end we use digital pen and pad. Our teaching is for orphanage students. Hence it is not affordable to use iPad or system to our childrens(have around 100 students).
1. Is it possible to use projector to display teaching in a large screen.
2. Will it appear in real time on the screen of our student.
Are you doing online tutoring or is this at an orphanage?
It sounds like you are teaching an orphanage from afar.
Are you teaching the students all at the same time or 1 on 1?
Let me know these answers so I can best advise you.
Sorry for the delay. Yes, we are teaching all for an orphanage from afar.
All at a same time.