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There are a few basic items that you need to get started teaching online.
At the very minimum you need a working computer (desktop or laptop) that has a built-in or external webcam. Most companies recommend a computer with an Intel i5 processor or newer, and at least 4GB of RAM.
You will also need a headset with an attached microphone, as well as a stable internet connection. The minimum recommended internet upload and download speed is 500 kb/second.
In addition, we recommend that you have a few other key items such as a professional, educational background; a small whiteboard; a hand puppet; and some basic flash cards.
*All of the products listed below are things we personally use, or items other teachers we know have used and recommended.
The Cyber Acoustics headset is on the lower end of the price range but is reliable and sturdy. They actually have leather ear cushions which is better than most headsets in this price range. They are "Amazon's Choice" and well-reviewed.
The Logictech headset is around the same price as the Cyber Acoustics set and does not have the leather ear cushions, but DOES have noise-cancelling technology. This is especially good if you will be teaching in a noisy environment.
The Mpow headset is on the higher end of the price range for video conferencing headsets. However, it features a USB connection and a remote control built into the cable. It also has very comfortable ear cushions and noise-cancelling technology.
The Logitech C270 is the entry-level camera of our recommended bunch. This webcam features video in 720p and can take photos up to 3 MP.
The Logitech C525 is a mid-range webcam. While it maxes it out at 720p, it can record in 16:9 widescreen and take 8 MP photos. It boasts ultra-smooth autofocus and auto light correction which can be really great to enhance your fun and energetic classroom. It has 360-degree full motion rotation and is portable.
The Logictech C920 is the pricier recommendation of the bunch. It has full HD 1080p video calling and full HD video recording at 30 frames/second. It also offers H.264 video compression; built-in dual stereo mics with automatic noise reduction; automatic low-light correction; and tripod-ready universal clips that fit laptops, LCD, or monitors.
The HP is the entry-level laptop of our recommended computers. It has a 15.6" HD LED Touchscreen Display, which can be quite fun with some of the companies' interactive classroom software. It also has an Intel Pentium Processor (up to 2.56GHz), 4 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB hard drive. The good thing about this laptop is that it has a built-in HD webcam, meaning you won't have to spend money on an external one.
The ASUS VivoBook is still quite affordable, but has slightly higher specs than the HP. It has an Intel Core i5-(up to 3.4GHz) processor, full HD display, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.
For Apple fans, here is a certified refurbished 12 " Macbook Air that meets the minimum requirements for teaching online. It is super lightweight and portable (great for travelling teachers), has a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128 GB solid state drive (faster than spinning hard drives).
You can also upgrade to 8 GB of memory and a 256 GB solid state drive.
Dell-Inspiron AIO 3475 All in One Computer is a solid, well-reviewed all-in-one desktop that does everything you need for teaching online. It has an AMD A6-9225 processor with Radeon R4 Graphics, 8GB of RAM, 1 TB hard drive space, and Windows 10 Home. It's Amazon's Choice for all-in-one computers
The Acer Aspire C24 is another "Amazon's Choice" computer. It has an Intel Core i5 processor (Up to 3.4GHz), a 23.8" Full HD display, 12GB RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.
This computer comes with an external 1 MP webcam.
Most all of the online teaching companies recommend that teachers have an educational background. They really frown upon teachers having their living situations visible in the class environment. Below are a few great options to make your classroom background look more professional.
If your teaching area is not in a corner or up against a wall, we recommend a standing whiteboard as a background. You can tape or stick anything you want to your whiteboard to personalize it. You can also use it to write on during class time.
If you will be in a corner, or there is a wall behind you, you can hang posters, whiteboards, chalkboards, or any other appropriate material.
All of these products have good reviews and ship quickly.
There are a few other key items we recommend to optimize your online teaching exprience. Most companies recommend these items as well. The resources are: a small handheld whiteboard, dry erase markers, a hand puppet for doing dialogue with young students, and some basic flashcards.