What is Dropshipping?

Teaching maths online

Hi, I’m Kevin the creator of the Mathsaurus website and today I’m going to talk to you about how to get started with
teaching maths online. So I know there are a lot of people out there trying out
teaching online for the first time because of schools being closed down
because of the spread of the coronavirus and what I want to do today is to show
you some of my tips for online lessons that I’ve learnt over the course of a
few years of making videos and teaching students privately online. There are
certainly some downsides to teaching online but there are also loads of
incredible opportunities and benefits and ways that you can
sometimes deliver even better lessons online than in person. So as well as
making videos for the Mathsaurus Channel I’ve got hundreds of hours of private
tuition online, seven years of teaching experience at two of London’s finest
academic private schools and three master’s degrees in mathematics
including an undergrad and masters from Oxford and so I hope that you will
benefit from my experience here and from this you’ll be able to be up setting up
online math lessons in no time. If you’re interested in finding students or
you’re a student looking for an online math teacher I’d really recommend
heading over to the Tutorfair website. Please do use my affiliate link below
and they have loads of tutors there set up for online learning and in my
experience lots of students also looking for lessons. The best setup I think for
an online lesson is going to vary a lot depending on the particular teacher and
the age of the students and exactly what they’re learning but I think with some
structure and with some thought you can really make it work well with with most
students although I would say that it’s easiest and it works best when you have
students who are quite focused and committed and probably easier with all
the students than younger ones but no reason it can’t work with all of them
and one theme here is that some of the difficulties for example having less
focused students although we might notice them suddenly when they go online
they’re often exactly the same issues we may have had in person so so do give
online teaching a go and do try to see through some of the
problems to the benefits. I’m really going to talk about three main things in
this video. Firstly I’m going to show you my physical setup in terms of the equipment
I’ve got here and what I use and what you need to get started. You don’t need
all of it by any means you can get by with quite a limited setup and still
give good lessons. I’m going to show you a load of online software that I use in
particular all the free stuff in fact more or less all the software that I use
is free and open source and thirdly talked a little bit about setting up
structures for lessons and how to make online work as a way of working and
getting into good routines. So I hope it’s useful. Please do put in the
comments below any questions and any thoughts and if there’s enough I’ll make
another video responding to them perhaps. Otherwise let me start
by showing you some of the equipment So the physical setup if your lessons is
something you’re going to want to think about before you start teaching. If
you’ve got that set up then you can have a really smooth start to the lessons and
communicate just as clearly as you would do in person with students. As you can
see here I’ve got two monitors set up in my office and also a tablet to write on
and there’s loads of these tablets available at a wide range of budgets as
well. I should say I’ve put a link below to my Amazon store and there you can see
more details on all of the products that I’m using and get them for yourself if
you want to. Actually this tablet is super easy to set up you really just
plug it into the USB and then it works exactly like a mouse and it lets you
draw on the screen just as if you had a touchpad. Obviously for doing something
like making constructions where you need rulers and compasses it’s a bit more
difficult or perhaps even if you just prefer a writing pen on paper instead
there is another option that I’ve used sometimes which is simply to mount a
webcam over the desk and to to share that screen with students and actually
that’s how I did all of my lessons before I bought the tablet and that
worked pretty well as well. The main downside of that method would
be that you need to scan in or take photos of the work that you’ve done as
well if you want to share them with students whereas with the tablet you
have it straight away on the screen you can save it really easily. You probably also
want some sort of webcam to point at your face I think so that you can talk
to the students and most people have that built into a to a laptop anyway but
you can easily of course use the same webcam for that as you use for the desk
if you’ve got a way of switching it quickly. The webcam I have on the desk
is usually attached to one of these bendy mounts. In fact I’ve got one here
like this and you can move this around very easily you can point to itself and
you can clamp it to the desk and then point it down at the table really
easily as well. Another option if you’d prefer just to write pen on paper you
can get these specially built cameras like this where you just place
it on the desk and then there’s a camera here and it will
just sit over the work and you can use that as an input to share with the
student as well. So once you’re set up yourself and
ready to deliver online lessons another thing you’ll want to think about is what
kit your students need and do they need to have all of this stuff as well and I
think the good news is in my opinion they don’t really need to. I think as
long as you’ve got reasonably focused students and they’ve got some sort of
webcam set up the lessons can work perfectly well. Now in an ideal
world perhaps they might also have a tablet or some way of writing on the
screen and there’s certainly lots of options that allow you to share screens
and do things like that but it can often get a little bit complicated to do that
in terms of troubleshooting you know tech issues and things so I often find
that it’s better for me simply to have the screen and to be talking through
problems with students. Some people are not convinced when I first say that
this works well but you know if you really think about in a traditional lesson
and how often you know a student is spending time at the whiteboard and how
often you’re there explaining things and you know one on one you actually get a
lot more verbal feedback you can talk to the student and
you know they’re asking questions often the whole time and so in
practice you can get by pretty well especially with the
older students I think. But one thing that is really useful is that if they at
least have some sort of camera or scanner where they have scanned in some
work so an option to still be able to see their work for example is for them
to scan it in ahead of the lesson and then you can bring that work up on the
screen and talk through what they’ve done in advance and actually I often
find you know it’s better to to look through work that students have really
done and thought about and considered rather than just that sort of
high-pressure moment where you’re asking them a question and they can actually
you know that almost encourages them to come with slightly more considered
questions and things as well. So there are lots of options here but as I say I think a relatively low-tech setup on behalf of the
students is probably what we should expect. It’s not really reasonable to
expect students to be as set up with loads of tech and I think it’s better if
we design our lessons and our set up in a way that can take advantage of it when
they do have the tech but is still working very well when they don’t. So now I’m going to show you some of the
software and some of the online tools that I use, most of which are free, to
help with online lessons and I think this really is the best part of teaching
online. Because unlike in-person you have access to all of your files, to the whole
internet, to so many useful tools that you can use to demonstrate the ideas in
maths and to respond to things as they come up with students as
well so it really does give you a lot of flexibility and this is where in some
ways you know it can be better than teaching in person. So okay starting with
the basics obviously you do need some way of connecting to the student. I would
tend to use Skype but there’s loads of other options available like that. I’m
not going to go through those and you probably have your favorite already and
the thing you know that I use in Skype is really the ability to share the
screen with a student okay so there’s a button that you can click and then the
student as well as being able to see my face through my webcam can see the
output of my second monitor and everything that I write there in a
window on on their screen as well. But the most important thing is you know
what do we put on to that second monitor and the first piece of software that I
really want to talk about is called Open Board Open Board is a totally free piece
of software and as you can see as I’m demonstrating it here you can have the
software open on one screen and then it puts the actual whiteboard over onto a
second monitor so it also makes it great for use in physical classrooms as well
where you can have your PC and the physical whiteboard in the room
separately so that you can have access to all the tools and and other things on
the screen and the student just gets to see the clean finished
whiteboard. It’s got loads of really handy tools in as well and it does it
all really nice and simply so for example you can just you know do a snip
of any area of the screen and copy it straight into into Open Board. Once
you’ve finished the lesson you can just very quickly turn all of the slides that
you’ve been using into a PDF. Again, another situation where we have an
advantage over real classrooms here you know you can
write several whiteboards worth of material and you can go back and forth
between the notes you’ve you’ve written in that lesson without having to to rub
them off you can easily pull in questions from exam papers and diagrams
without having to spend loads of time sitting with the students
waiting for you to draw them so one thing I’ll make use of a lot in lessons
is the website Desmos. A really good intuitive graphing tool and all online
so you don’t need to download anything to use this. You can get it very easily
to plot graphs x squared X cubed x to the 4 whatever you want to. You can do much
harder things as well obviously but really easy to put something in there
and then if you’re using Open Board as I suggested before again you know I
can just you know take a graph from here, say ‘Add to current page’ and I can put it
straight into my notes and onto the whiteboard that I’m sharing with the
student. Lots of little fun things that are built into here as well I think if
you type in ‘betchacant’ it will come up with, it’ll say ‘challenge accepted’
and it’ll come up with an interesting animation. It looks like they’ve got some sort
of PacMan style thing here and it’s all been made as you can see in there in
mathematical notation so lots of fun things for students to look at and
explore in there. OK, here’s Geogebra, another totally
free tool another one I use quite a lot. I mean they have graphing things as well. Initially I knew this as a tool for doing geometry but it’s
extended into a lot more now. I actually use it a lot for its little app on
probability distributions here which is great for A-level maths in
particular. You know you can just put in all sorts of distributions. You’ve got the
normal distribution here but there’s a whole list of of different distributions
you can come up with and you can use it to calculate probabilities and
demonstrate the ideas there and again really easily copy it
into your whiteboard with Open Board. So here’s a Wolfram Alpha I guess
loads of people know about this website already but it’s a super powerful
computational engine you know I can tell it to you know work out all of these
derivatives whatever and if you type a function in and wait for it to do some
computation it will you know really come up with a lot of
information on those things again interesting to get answers in
itself but then also usually gives you some other output to explore and to
think about that can motivate further questions. You can can ask it to tell you
a joke and so it will tell you a joke with some sort of mathematical background in
here. Some of these use slightly more advanced maths than
some of our students will be ready for but you know still quite a nice little
feature. And another nice thing is of course if you’ve got any bespoke
materials that you’ve made for classes in the past. I didn’t make this one
but here’s a you know explanation of a regression line that has come from some slightly older resources here but it’s great to be able to type in data
and to play around with those ideas and when you’re online you have access to
all of this stuff all right at your fingertips if you’re just a little bit
organized with your files and folders and the last thing I’d really advise you to
get hold of is something like this. One of the calculator emulators. Now this is
not free to individuals. I think it costs about ten pounds to have the license
from Casio and but you may have access to it for free if you also working for a
school or something but what this allows you to do is to you
know to show the calculator exactly as the student will be using it. I know a
lot of people use these in physical classrooms these days on the screen as
well but I can really type all of the buttons on the calculator exactly as
you touch the real one and you know I can go here and show them how to use
the calculator to solve a quadratic equation and if they’ve got their
calculator in person they can sort of follow along with it as the
explanation goes on. If you see my videos on the Mathsaurus channel you’ll see me
using this quite a bit in those videos as well. So once you’ve got your physical setup
sorted and your online software all ready to go the last thing to think
about is I think actually how you’re going to manage the day-to-day
experience of the students in terms of setting them work making sure they’ve
got access to resources and all of that sort of stuff and this is another area
where the online lessons really can work a lot better. So there’s loads of other
options apart from Google Drive but I tend to use Google
Drive for my students because it’s free a lot of people are used to it but there
are other options available and you can share a particular folder there with a
student so they have access just to that folder here so I’ve made one called
‘teaching maths online’ and within that you can have subfolders that they
can see so you could have a folder where they upload their work and then you know
you could tell them every week if you have a lesson on a Wednesday they have
to upload some work you’ve given to them by Tuesday. You can easily do this with a
whole class if you had a folder for each of them that you could share with them
individually without the others being able to see their work as well and you
know then you can go through that in the next lesson and you can put your
comments or you can mark it if you want to and put it back in this folder so
they can see your comments before the lesson. You know however you want to work.
I mean in practice I think actually marking work with the students you know
whilst they’re watching and you can talk about it is is really good. I think a
common misconception we have in teaching sometimes it’s somehow that if it
involves us more work it must be better for the students but I think marking is
a great example where actually somehow if you do it with them it’s a much more
engaging process and a more useful process for both parties. We still have
to mark exams, we still have to mark other work sometimes but you know
online this can work really well because we have this sort of it’s like we have
this shared project that we’re working on with all these
shared folders and documents and somehow the students can take a bit more
ownership of it sometimes as well. so that’s one thing and I think a second
thing as well that has come up for me in scheduling lessons and you know
obviously when we’re in person you turn up and you’re there and they’re there
and that’s all very easy whereas somehow online it’s a bit easy
for students to you know to say they’ve forgotten the
lesson and not turn up and have all the timings right so another really
useful feature is to do something like using a Google Calendar invite where
you’re both invited by email and you both accept it and then you know it
appears in your lessons and you know if you have notifications on your phone as
most students do now you know they’ll get a notification 15 minutes before the lesson reminding them automatically. It gets rid of a lot of problems like that.
Again you know this is particularly useful I think if you have
students who operate in different time zones as I do sometimes. Google
will do all that admin of matching up you know is it 3 p.m. here
when it’s 6 p.m. somewhere else and all sort of stuff. okay so I hope this has been useful to
those if you thinking about setting up online math lessons whether that’s
because you’re forced into it because of the situation we have an amendment with
the coronavirus or because it’s something you’re looking to do for
online one-on-one tuition or for whatever other reason. You know there are
some disadvantages to online tuition. I think somehow you don’t
quite get always the sort of personal interaction that you that you get in
person but as we’ve seen you’ve got somehow access to all of these online
tools and websites and it can really make scheduling easier as well you can
be at home you don’t have to travel between students if you’re
a private tutor. So I do think that online tuition can
work just as well if not a lot better for some students. It has certainly allowed
me to teach students who are you know very far away in different parts of the
world who have more demanding schedules or sometimes I’ll have
students who have a combination of in person lessons and some extra support
online and there’s loads of ways that can work really well and I’m sure if at
the coming month lots of people are going to be experimenting with this and
finding out exactly how it might work for them. So please do put in the
comments if you’ve got any questions or things to discuss maybe if it gets a lot
of response I’ll do another video on this replying to some of these things. Also if you’re new to my channel the Mathsaurus website and the YouTube
channel have got hundreds of videos at GCSE and a-level that I made whilst
teaching in schools in London. There’s loads of past papers. There’s
questions by topic for every topic from old exam questions for IGCSE and links
to video solutions in most cases. I do a lot of stuff for the Oxford maths
admissions test and I’m doing a lot of Cambridge STEP questions at the moment
so please do share those with your students and feel free to use them in
your online teaching if they’re useful. I’ve put all of the links to the
products that I’ve talked about in this video in an Amazon store below as well
and linked as before to Tutorfair if you want to do
some online teaching there and find some students there are not put links to all
of the free websites in the description below as well so I really hope that’s
useful. Good luck with your online studies and I hope to hear from some of
you in the comments.

Reader Comments

  1. Hi Kevin, thanks for an excellent video…I use an iPad with a few students and talk them through problems with work done a mini whiteboard – it works well for me 👍🏼

  2. I've been wanting to start teaching online for the longest time but I had no idea where to start. This was so helpful – thank you!

  3. Hi – very useful video – I will be moving to tutoring online now due to Corona and maybe just generally. Quick question – how do you deal with child protection issues? The training I have been on in the past has been very particular about not having email/phone contact with students, and to always do tutoring in a public place or somewhere where there are other adults around – of course to protect yourself in case of any misunderstandings/allegations. Do you make any allowances / do anything different when tutoring online? Thanks.

  4. What do actually use to talk to the students? Google Hangout? Skype? (Apologies if I missed this in your video! – Presumably anything that let's you share your screen?)

    And have you ever tried using a shared OneNote page (Microsoft) or Google JamBoard to have a shared screen you can both write on?

  5. I had 0 prep for my IGCSE maths B exam , faced many issues along the way, your videos helped me get grade 7 <3
    Thanks a billion sir.

  6. Hey I'm really bad at maths and I have no idea what my teacher is teaching even when i go for consultation. I'm going to take my o levels next year and im quite nervous. Your videos really help me and I want to thank you for that!

  7. In some of your videos you show a video of yourself in a corner of the screen and the feed from the desk cam occupying most of the screen. How did you do that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *