“Humans are the reproductive organs of technology.” - Kevin Kelly
While computers may never replace the human mind, they can definitely help us to share knowledge more effectively. This is especially true when it comes to online tutorials as learning from videos, streamed lessons, and online tutors are all becoming more popular.
There are plenty of apps and software that can facilitate the whole process.
So what about Zoom, the most popular app right now?
Using Zoom for Online Tutorials
Online tutorials are becoming increasingly common and for many students, it allows them to access tutors from all over the world and also save money on the cost of private tutoring as the tutors don’t need to spend time or money travelling to their students. In short, online tutorials are a new way to learn.
2020 has made distance learning and online tutorials almost essential. During lockdowns and the subsequent restrictions, a lot of lessons can't take place in-person and Zoom has become one of the best ways to teach online.
The app was created back in 2011 but really blew up in popularity during the pandemic. So many people have created a free account or paid for a premium plan.
Zoom is how they can see and hear their tutor and this quick and seamless app has made online tutoring easier. However, like with everything, Zoom has both its pros and cons.
The Advantages of Teaching Online Tutorials Using Zoom
There are quite a few advantages to using Zoom. Both tutors and students seem to love it.
But why is that?
Zoom is Quick and Simple
Zoom isn’t the first program to offer video calling. Before it, a lot of people would use Skype to call their friends, family, and colleagues.
So why did they move over to Zoom?
Zoom is easier to use as you don’t need to look for contacts in your address book or ask them a hundred times how to spell their username.
With Zoom, you just have to send the link to the other users and they can click on it to join the meeting. The ease of use makes it really easy to launch a meeting directly from your browser.
Zoom also loads quickly and you’re less likely to have your video freeze, too.
Scheduling Your Lessons with Zoom
Zoom allows you to schedule your next meeting. You just need to say when it’ll take place and send the invitation to the student. All participants will get a reminder so that they don’t forget about the meeting.
You can even schedule Zoom meetings in your Google Calendar if you have one.
Just like with Skype, you can share your screen with the other participants in the meeting. The tutor can share their screen with the student so they can better understand what’s going on.
This is particularly useful in online tutorials where the distance can sometimes seem immeasurable.
Recording Your Lessons with Zoom
By recording your meetings, you can watch them back later. This function is incredibly useful for remote lessons as you can review lessons and see what works and what doesn’t. It’s also useful for students to re-watch the meeting and take notes.
Be aware that you can only save lessons to the cloud with a Pro plan or better.
Take Part in Group Lessons
Who said that online tutorials had to be one-on-one?
Some tutors offer their lessons to several students at once, which had the advantage of being more engaging.
You can do this with Zoom, too. One of Zoom’s biggest advantages is just how many users you can have on a call. With a free account, you can have up to 100 people in the same meeting. However, these calls are limited to 40 minutes.
Using an Interactive Whiteboard
How can you present ideas or do exercises in online tutorials?
Screen sharing is a good option, but an interactive whiteboard is even better. You need Zoom Rooms for this feature which will cost you £39 a month. However, it will give you access to a virtual whiteboard that you and the students can write or draw on.
Offering Classes from Home
One of the best things about Zoom is that you can teach from the comfort of your own home. As we all know, there’s no place like home. The student can also go to the part of their house where they’re most comfortable. You can also prepare yourself a drink before you get started.
In some ways, we focus better at home.
The Disadvantages of Teaching Online Tutorials with Zoom
It’s not all good when it comes to Zoom. There are certain disadvantages that may turn you off the whole idea.
Online Tutorials Can’t Always Replace Face-to-Face Tutorials
Firstly, online tutorials can’t fully replace face-to-face tutorials. Some things are easier explained in-person than with a shared screen or a virtual whiteboard. Teachers sometimes need to be there with their students to really explain something.
The virtual distance can also reduce concentration as when a teacher is actually there, students tend to pay more attention. Furthermore, a physical presence makes tutorials feel more engaging.
The Student is On Their Own in Front of a Computer
It’s not always a good idea for a teacher to leave a student to their own devices in front of a computer. They might not be comfortable with technology and struggle to follow the class while also trying to work out how their computer works. It’s important that you do a test run of an online tutorial first.
Furthermore, Zoom is just more time in front of a screen and many of us, especially children, get quite enough of that as it is.
So is it a good or bad idea?
Each person needs to think about how much time they spend on their devices.
When Zoom first blew up, unwanted intruders were regularly joining other people’s meetings, a phenomenon known as Zoombombing. Zoom’s security left a lot to be desired.
Since then, Zoom has integrated password-protection so that users can put a password on their meetings. However, it’s up to you whether or not to password-protect your meeting.
If you want to get the most out of Zoom, you’ll need to pay for one of the premium plans or for Zoom Rooms. Each plan is different and virtual whiteboards, for example, are only available with Zoom Rooms. However, the free account is enough to get started with online tutorials.
Why Should You Opt for Zoom?
Choosing Zoom for online tutorials is a good idea. It’s quicker and easier to use than Skype and has more features than WhatsApp or Messenger. It really depends how often you plan on using it, though.
If you teach one-on-one online tutorials every so often, the free version will do the trick. You can host as many one-on-one meetings as you like. Group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.
If your group tutorials are going to last longer than this, paying for a Zoom plan will make thing easier and Zoom Rooms offers virtual whiteboards.
So are you thinking about using Zoom?
If you're interested in private tutoring or learning from a private tutor, check out Superprof. There are thousands of tutors in the UK and around the world ready to teach you a variety of different skills and subjects.
There are three main ways to get private tutorials: face-to-face, online, or in a group. Each way of learning comes with its pros and cons and it's up to you to choose which type and which tutor works for you.
Face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive but that's because you get tailored lessons and a lot of the tutors will travel to you. You'll be the only student in the class and can learn what you want, how you want. Of course, with the pandemic, these types of tutorials have become less feasible and with the ever-changing restrictions, you mightn't want to start face-to-face lessons just to have them cancelled the next week.
As we mentioned, online tutorials have saved the day for many tutors and students and since the tutor isn't there in the room with you and doesn't have to travel to all their other lessons, they're cheaper than face-to-face tutorials and completely COVID-safe. Of course, while these tutorials can be just as effective as face-to-face for academic subjects, they aren't often as effective when it comes to hands-on subjects and skills.
Finally, group tutorials are usually the cheapest option available and are great for those on a budget. However, much like the face-to-face tutorials, group tutorials aren't really recommended during the global pandemic and are almost impossible to organise given the various restrictions and lockdowns.
Don't forget that many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free. While these won't be a typical lesson, they are an excellent opportunity to chat to the tutor, ask them about how they like to teach and how they can help, and discuss their availability, cost, etc. It's also a great opportunity to see if you get on well with them as it's much easier to learn with a tutor that you like or have a good rapport with.