Today’s online educators know all too well that presenting lessons on camera in an online classroom is quite different from teaching students in person. Teaching through a virtual learning platform may leave you as a teacher feeling insecure, or unsure about your ability to transfer your in-person teaching style to a virtual learning environment. This article will help, offering ways you can build your confidence on camera before the video turns on, and how you can stay confident when video conferencing fatigue hits.
6 tips for teaching on camera with confidence
If you are an educator looking for ways to improve your confidence on camera when presenting lessons through a virtual classroom, follow these six preparation tips:
1. Use a high-quality virtual classroom, audio/video, and Internet.
The EdTech and supporting equipment that you use to present your virtual lessons will drastically impact the experience you have when teaching on camera:
Choose a quality software solution for video conferencing for education/teaching, one that will provide you with an intuitive, reliable virtual classroom that is simple for you and your students to use.
Invest in a high-quality microphone or headset, and optionally an upgraded webcam, better than your computer’s built-in camera.
Make sure you have reliable, high-speed Internet so that you don’t have to worry about your video feed cutting out while you’re teaching on camera.
2. Choose a simple background with only reliable virtual features.
The ideal background for your field of view when teaching on camera is a professional, static background without distractions, such as the tidy office shelves behind your desk or a decorated wall.
You can also use the virtual background feature that is available in some video conferencing platforms, as long as your platform is reliable. Virtual background technologies that haven’t been perfected by developers can cause glitches and lead to unnecessary anxiety. Avoid technical difficulties by making sure you’re using a teaching platform with high-quality, dependable virtual features.
3. Position your webcam at a flattering angle and look into it.
Gain confidence about your appearance during your video lessons by making sure your camera is at the ideal angle. The camera should be placed just above your eye level, slightly angled downward to meet your eyes.
Additionally, when presenting on camera, focus your eyes on the webcam itself, rather than the screen. This will give your viewers the feeling that you are looking at them and offers a more engaging on-video presence.
4. Create the right lighting for your on-camera presentation.
You will appear more professional and presentable on camera if the lighting is right. Make sure your face is well-lit instead of shadowed, by situating your light source in front of you. An open window in front of your webcam can serve as a great source of natural light that will accentuate your appearance. If you don’t have a window, simply ensure that your lighting is properly illuminating the front of your face, preventing you from showing as a dark silhouette on video.
5. Get to know your online teaching platform.
Take the time to explore the full functionality of your virtual classroom, so that you can take advantage of all it has to offer in your video lessons, and more confidently present your material in an online format.
If your EdTech software has a virtual whiteboard feature, for example, this traditional teaching tool brought into the virtual environment might offer an opportunity for you to improve your confidence on camera. Virtual classroom polling is another useful feature for building confidence, enabling teachers to collect student feedback on their video lessons and identify ways to improve. For more information about student engagement in online classrooms, read our blog “Tips for collecting and providing feedback in the virtual classroom.”
6. Plan ahead to combat video conferencing fatigue.
Exhaustion due to all-day online video conferencing is a well-documented problem. Spending hours in virtual meetings causes stress and requires concentration in ways that in-person meetings do not. To help virtual educators maintain confidence on camera even into the late afternoon, below are a few effective solutions that can help you combat video conferencing fatigue:
Give yourself and your students a “video off” break. Who says you have to be on camera at all times? Take scheduled breaks from appearing on camera. You might use these breaks as audio-only lesson times or as short independent study/break periods.
Create a larger field of view for your video lessons. One of the reasons people become fatigued by video conferences is that they are often stuck sitting in one place for a long time. You can overcome this by giving yourself more room to move around, similar to the way you would move around the front of a traditional classroom. Set the camera back further away, and consider using an external keyboard for greater flexibility.
Hide the self-view video feed. There should be a button to do this. Traditionally, teachers aren’t accustomed to staring at themselves in a mirror while teaching, but nonetheless, many video conferencing platforms are designed to show you a small picture-in-picture video feed of yourself while you’re in a virtual meeting. That makes it hard not to criticize every little thing you’re doing, and it’s distracting. Turn it off.
Improve your confidence on camera by teaching with HiLink
Adopting the right online teaching platform is essential to creating a virtual classroom where you can have daily confidence on camera and make sure your students are well-served. HiLink was designed to help educators confidently and successfully run a modern online classroom. If you need an easy-to-use EdTech solution for virtual teaching, contact us today for more information!