Online lessons are available via the video communications app Skype. Skype is free, easy to download and use. It is available for a wide range of devices from smart phones through to desktop computers.
A typical online lesson involves face-to-face discussion via webcam, sharing of device screens to show questions, diagrams or explanations. Students are able to follow written worked examples and descriptions either on a physical notepad or on a shared screen in much the same way as in a face-to-face lesson. They can also use screen capture to take copies of examples or other information to incorporate into their notes after the lesson. Prior to their first online lesson, many student expressed doubts as to how it could work. In all cases, these doubts have disappeared a short time into the lesson as they realised it wasn’t very different. Indeed a number of students seem to prefer and respond better to the online teaching.
Online lessons are so similar to face-to-face teaching that all the advantages of one-to-one-tuition discussed elsewhere on this website apply equally well. Issues such as building confidence and identifying concepts which have not been understood are even more important in the present situation. The numerous benefits of individual tuition via online teaching include:
- Helping to provide a focus and structure to the self-directed study which will be a major part of students’ learning over the coming months
- Providing help and guidance with set work from school
- Working to tackle gaps in knowledge from earlier subject material to break down barriers to learning new concepts
- Building confidence through supportive feedback on students’ work and progress
- Looking ahead to topics later in the course to ease the eventual return to school and minimise the time lost due to being at home