Tag: computer hardware

Tools For Tutoring – The Lowdown on Headsets

One of the tools I cannot be without for tutoring is a decent headset. Whilst it’s possible to tutor online using the built in microphone & speakers on a laptop or desktop, the feedback and echo cause by them makes it difficult – let’s be honest, there’s a reason why online gamers buy decent headsets, and it’s not just to look good.

Basic Headphone / Mic Combo


A basic headset like the Mpow USB PC Headset allows you to just plug in your headset and away you go. Be careful selecting headsets that have dual microphone & speaker connections as many laptops and desktops no longer have these connections.
You may also want to check that your USB headset will be compatible with your operating system as later versions of Windows have had a number of reports of volume issues where USB connections have been used. So far, the only fix for this is to buy a headset that comes with its own drivers instead of relying on the built in sound card drivers (best to check this when you buy the headset).

Gaming Headsets

One of the ways to combat the issues of USB headsets, is to use a gaming headset. Headsets like these PS4 headsets also help with noise cancellation helping you concentrate on your lesson if there happens to be other people in the house.

Single Ear Headsets

My personal favourite is to use a single ear headset with noise cancelling. Many of these also use USB, so it’s worth doing some research to find one likethe Koss CS95. This one has been particularly useful as it has duel microphone / speaker cables (if you remember my last post about graphics tablets, my laptop is actually limited by having a single 3.5mm input for headsets, but this is easily solved using a splitter cable)

Other ideas

The only real restriction here is that you have a reasonably decent microphone, and can hear the student clearly. Another possibility if you don’t want the restriction of cables is to use a bluetooth headset.
*This blog contains affiliate links. I do not recommend any product that I don’t genuinely think is worth it, but the proceeds of these links help me to cover the costs of the website & blog. If you have any questions about the recommendations here, please contact me.

Tools For Online Tutoring – Do I Need A Stylus?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been chatting to a number of tutors who are just starting up their businesses. I’s been really rewarding to share some of my experiences to help them with their first steps in online tutoring.
I jumped into the world of tutoring without a great deal of forward planning, and like many of us had been toying with the idea for some time, but had my hand forced after a change in circumstances. Never one to turn down a challenge, I used it as a challenge and have grown the tutoring side of TeachAllAboutIT considerably over the past year. With that said, there were a few things that I really wish I’d known about before I jumped in feet first, and hopefully this blog and the accompanying podcast will go some way to address them.
One of the biggest worries that I’ve seen is what hardware do I really need to start online tutoring?
Graphics tablets
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Whilst you could go all out with graphics tablets that cost hundred of pounds, it’s just not necessary for tutoring. The hardware needed very much depends on your subject – if you’re looking to tutor maths, dcience, art, so any other subject that requires you to hand draw diagrams then you’re going to want either a touch screen or a graphics tablet.
I like the Huion H420 USB Art Design Graphics Drawing Tablet because it has a 10 inch surface and comes with a handy glove to stop the pointer from flying about all over the place.
Combination Laptops
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Alternatively, you can look at an all in one method. After my Microsoft Surface finally died after 7 years (not bad for a 1st generation tablet), I invested in an HP Pavillion laptop. For me, this had a number of benefits: I can use it like a standard laptop, it’s 180 hinges mean that I can use it like a massive tablet and draw directly onto the screen, and I can use it as a hybrid when tutoring online.
Being a massive nerd, I spent several weeks trawling websites and shops to find the ‘right’ laptop for my online tutoring, admin, and teaching needs. To be honest, the only grumble I’ve had with it is the combination headphone/microphone socket – with recording podcasts, I like to use a specialist microphone which is not supported. But this was easily solved by buying a splitter cable.
Tablets
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Something that a number of my students use is an additional tablet & stylus for writing.
Benefit – you can use it for a multitude of other things
drawback – it’s not as accurate as a graphics tablet
*This blog contains affiliate links. I do not recommend any product that I don’t genuinely think is worth it, but the proceeds of these links help me to cover the costs of the website & blog. If you have any questions about the recommendations here, please contact me.