‘Skype lessons’ is the generic name that is generally used for live online lessons using video chat technology. Skype is one of the more commonly used platforms for online lessons, but there are many others, such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, OoVoo, Facetime and more. Mac users often find that Facetime works best, however, both teacher and student need to be using an iOS device. For ease of expression, I will refer to live online lessons as ‘Skype lessons’ in this article, but do be aware that the information will apply to other platforms as well.
Anthony has written about Skype lessons in an earlier blog post, which you may also like to read.
It is quite possible to have a very successful Skype lesson with minimal equipment, but it is important to realise that the quality of your experience will be impacted by the quality of your equipment. While it is possible to use an iPad/tablet (and maybe even a smart phone), better results will be achieved using a notebook computer.
Minimum basic requirements for delivering online lessons Computer
sufficient memory resources
HD internal webcam
Good quality internal microphone
High speed Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth
For best results, use a cable connection to your modem rather than Wi-Fi. If that isn’t possible, make sure that the Wi-Fi signal is strong enough. If your lap top is too far from the modem/wireless router, you may need to invest in a signal booster.
If your laptop has an SD internal webcam, the view I see of you will probably not be adequate to work well with you. The video at right demonstrates the difference between an SD webcam and an HD webcam. Both parts of the video were taken one after the other, with the same lighting conditions etc (there is no audio).
If your computer has a good quality HD internal webcam, you can make do with that, at least initially while you work out whether Skype lessons will work for you. However, most people find that it is advantageous to have an external webcam as well. The Logitech C920 HD webcam appears to be the webcam of choice for most Skype teachers and is compatible with both Windows and Mac.