Skype, the pioneer of video conferencing and internet VoIP calling, has been transforming the ways many of us communicate. Whether it is used for interactions between friends and families, or helping businesses reach out to a larger audience, this amazing technology allows for free or low-cost video/audio communications all around the globe.
Although Skype has found its use in several kinds of business, it’s been the most effective in areas like education, particularly online tutoring, where person-to-person interaction is considered the fundamental basis of providing instructions to students.
Getting started with Skype is quite easy. Just follow the steps below and you will be up in no time.
For a detailed view of the entire process, refer to the short video below:
Professional tutors use Skype in various ways to reach out to students. The versatility offered by this technology help tutors handle different kinds of workloads, facilitating group work and building better education models for the future.
Most tutors use Skype to:
One particular way tutors have used Skype for online tutoring is through a virtual classroom setup. Here’s how it can be done in a few simple steps:
a) You can pick up a unique Skype username using your school name and subject, for e.g., SchoolPhysics, SchoolMath, SchoolEnglish, etc.
b) Now share your Skype handle with your students.
c) You can use your Skype profile setup for hiding handles from public view. This can help to protect you from outside interference or phishing.
In remote classroom monitoring, a tutor will set up a Skype connection in an active classroom, connecting to the Skype connection of another mentoring professional who is there somewhere else.
Through the help of a passive connection, the mentor can observe what’s going on inside the classroom. Here’s how you can do it:
Note: If someone wants to mute their audio/video connection sitting on the passive end, they can do so using the Skype settings or the built-in controls of the microphone.
Connecting students with different people across the globe is a more interesting way of knowing the world beyond the realms of textbooks. Skype makes it possible to make these conversations more direct.
Tutors will be able to connect with students around the world and even give them a quick glimpse of foreign cultures and lifestyles other than that of their own.
Tutors can be good at becoming experts in a wide array of subjects, but it is always a good idea to bring in an expert; someone with more experience on the topic being taught in class.
Professional subject matter experts can always be busy, thus, finding it exceptionally difficult to make in-person visits. But a Skype video session can be easier to fit into a tight schedule.
Group projects are always valuable for teaching students about working with one another. But, at the same time, it comes with the complications of figuring out the place and time of the meeting.
If students don’t know how to drive (which most of them don’t), the logistics of meeting at the library or at someone’s house could get complicated, thereby, making it hard to complete the project on time.
Skype helps in taking away that complication, as the meeting can be held anywhere even from the comfort of their individual drawing rooms.
Skype tutoring comes with loads of benefits. Some of them are:
Skype helps in making lessons inexpensive and easier to schedule. As both the student and tutor are working from home, it’s typically easier to find a convenient time for work as the commuting time is not taken into account and no extra cost is involved in fuel or public transportation.
Skype compels both students and tutors to focus on their job. This might be because you feel that you are using pricey online resources, even though it is available for free.
Whatever the case it might be, the point is there’s real sustained attention; one that counts the most. As a tutor or learner, you are less likely to drift off-task thus, making it possible for the student to learn more in less time.
Skype online tutoring is cost-effective. It requires very little equipment on the tutor end. Even on the student end, s/he has to pay very little to get quality online tuitions compared to conventional classroom tutoring.
Note: All parents don’t find it manageable for their children to go to a private tutor. Online tutoring provides an opportunity for these parents to bring the best quality education to their children.
Geography is not a limitation for online tutors, and so is time.
Once you remove the restrictions of time, commutation, and geography, tutoring becomes a whole lot easier and more convenient.
You can record your Skype video sessions for free, create alerts, integrate with Outlook, use whiteboards and do a dozen more things.
There are literally dozens of tools available out there that help you do anything starting from customization to sharing of files and resources.
If you are looking to use Skype for online tutoring, here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
For being an online tutor, a reliable internet connection and a laptop/PC are a part of your necessity.
Although nothing is foolproof and technical issues may occur anywhere at any time, you should still prepare the best you can. And as your tutoring services grow, your expenses will also grow over time. So prepare accordingly thinking of ways you can use to improve and upgrade your service.
You need to figure out the things that set you apart from the crowd.
Why are people going to hire you? Your answer to this question will largely determine how successful of an online tutor you can be on Skype.
The beauty of the World Wide Web lies in the fact that it provides you with a huge number of free resources that you can incorporate in your tutoring sessions.
You can use videos, podcasts, enlightening articles, audio records, and more. Even Google Drive will allow you to create individual documents for every student, thus, making sure everything stays organized in one place.
You may also create PDFs and PowerPoint presentations for your students online. And you can do all these things before the start of your lesson so your students get ample time to go through the information and write down any questions that they might have.
Even after you’ve found something working for your online business, you should always look for new and better ways to improve.
Continue with the creation of new content, update the materials you already have, and dedicate a particular portion of your time to improving your skill sets.
Always remember that without your students, you won’t be having a steady source of income.
So make sure you show them your appreciation from time to time. Work on building strong relationships with them and keep detailed records of their performance so you are able to ensure whether they are progressing or not.
Your goal should obviously be to help and encourage your students to get into learning, but at the same time, you should also want them to excel without you.
The primary objective of any good tutor should be to help their students reach a point where they won’t be needing his/her help anymore. To achieve this, your students must know how to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.
If your students are coming to you for additional academic help, it means they are struggling in that particular subject. If they had a good grasp of the subject matter, they probably won’t have the need to go into a tutoring session with you.
One of the best ways of combating this problem is to make your sessions more engaging. Find out what their interests are and use them to your advantage. Your students will be more motivated to learn if they find your online classes enjoyable and fun.
Determine the academic strengths and weaknesses of your students.
You should ideally have a system for assessing your students. By comprehending their needs and lacunas, you’ll be better equipped to help them with their lessons.
It’s always a good idea to ask for feedback from your students and their parents. Tell them to highlight your pros and cons. Should you have explained the sections more clearly?
As a Skype tutor, authentic feedback should never be taken for granted. That’s because it gives you valuable insight as to how you can improve.
As I said, even if you have found methods working for your students, you should continuously strive to pencil out newer and better teaching methods and update the materials you already have.
So that more or less sums things up. It’s time to sign off for the time being. Hope you had a good and enlightening read.
Sudipto writes educational content periodically and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO and graphic designing.