Best Online Teaching Tools for Online Tutors Getting Started

SPEAK YOUR MIND

How does a new online tutor get started tutoring online?  This is the number one question that is asked in the Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors.

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Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors is a group in Facebook that helps support all Online Tutors at any stage of their business.

However, the problem with this question is that it is vague; what aspect of online tutoring are people referring to?  Are they wondering…

  1. What are the best online teaching tools
  2. How to run a business
  3. How to get students

There are so many facets to starting an online tutoring business that it makes it hard to understand what people are really asking.  So, I have curated all of the best tools and information about each one to help new people get started with their business.  If a new tutor sticks with me long enough, I can even help them get booked solid and make more money.

Best Online Teaching Tools

Which computer should I get?

My computer is the lifeline of my business.  While the good news is that any computer will work, it is important to take into consideration what I want it to do.

I started off with a basic PC.  It had no special features but with the use of powerpoint, did everything I wanted it to do.  I discovered I could write on the screen with my mouse.  It is not easy to write with a mouse, but I was able to do it. Surface_Pro

The next computer I got was the Mac air.  With all of the traveling that I was doing, I wanted something light.  I loved that I could easily teach outside.  The screen had a level of brightness that is uncomparable to anything I had ever used before.

However, after these two computers, I tried the Surface Pro 3.  I fell in love with the ability to write directly on the screen.  This changed the way I tutor in every way.  It is light. Easy to use. By far the best investment I have ever made for a computer.  Many people choose to hook up a Wacom tablet or a Huion tablet to get a similar effect.  I like to travel with the least amount of tools possible.

I checked out the Surface Pro 4 when my computer was being serviced, but discovered not enough had changed to warrant an upgrade.  Both are great devices.

Video Conference Apps (Which are the best online teaching tools?)

Next, a new tutor will want to figure out which video conference app to use.  Each of these four options, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom, work great.

Some people use Facetime, but if a new tutor is serious about starting an online tutoring business, this wouldn’t be my suggestion.  This is an Apple app, so people that would like to access my tutoring services who do not have an Apple device will not be able to connect with me.

I tried Google Hangouts and liked that I could share my screen like Skype, but not all devices worked well with it.  For example, I had a student that was on an iPad, and for some reason when I shared my screen with her everything was flipped.  When I teach reading to dyslexics, this can be a big problem.

For five solid years, I used Skype.  I will always have a special place in my heart for it.  In fact, I used to be known as the Skyping Reading Tutor.  I loved it because I could see my students faces and share the screen.

In September I moved over to Zoom, but I still have one student left that I tutor on Skype.  I discovered that I can now share my sound.  This is a feature that I have been enjoying with Zoom, so I was pleasantly pleased that Skype had added it.

Best Online teaching Tools

Best online teaching tools for video conferencing is definitely Zoom.  This is a picture from the last Ultimate Support Groups Conference.

However, the features of Zoom still have a place in my heart for being the number one tool.  One reason is because I can record my sessions.  Recordings are useful for assessment purposes and to show progress from the beginning to the end.

The Green screen feature adds a level of professionalism that other apps do not offer.  I can have my background be anything in the world including a cozy living room or a scene from the beach.   In the photo above I look like I am on my porch.  My daughter says it looks like the rainforest and I am cool with that.

There is a whiteboard feature, but it is only one screen, and I can’t move around very well on it, so I just share my screen and use One Note.  Since there is an annotate feature students can write anything they need to on my screen.

One of the coolest features is the ability to share my mouse.  I teach reading, so having the ability to share my mouse has made it possible for kids to do word work with an app I use called Whizzimo.  Whizzimo allows me to make teaching reading online more hands on.

Video call Share screen Record calls Green screen Share sound Whiteboard Annotate Share mouse
Facetime x
Google Hangouts x x
Skype x x x
Zoom x x x x x x x x

 

Whiteboards are a necessary online teaching tool

When I first started tutoring, I did not use whiteboards.  I just improvised and did all the work I needed to do via PowerPoints.  Since I could draw on PowerPoints, it worked well enough.  Even today I don’t utilize them.  I just use One Note and save all of my students work in a folder.

K-S21D-Ae-00005-L-1-id-440366With Zoom, I can have my students annotate on my screen, but Zoom also has a whiteboard built into it.  Some people use it, and others just use the annotate feature.

I noticed that when I taught math, it was easier to do if I could see what and where the student was writing.  I found idroo and it worked great.  I could use idroo on my computer or set it up on my iPad and use it as a shared board.  At times it was hard to find where the student was writing, but it worked well enough.

Brandi Appell, an online math tutor, used scribblar for a while.  She didn’t like that the writing was glitchy, but it seemed to work better for her than idroo did.

Other online tutors have used join.me and bitpaper.

 

How to Run an Online Tutoring Business

 

How can an online tutor accept payment?

Having a payment system in place is essential in my business.  I will share some tips so that you can get paid on time. Don’t rely on invoices and expect to get paid on time.

I set up a system where I get automatically paid on time every time.  In this post, Simple Trick to Handle not getting Paid on time I share how to do this.

I have personally used Paypal, Square, and Stripe.  Some additional companies are Dwolla and Skrill.  My favorite way to get paid is Paypal.  It is recognized and trusted Worldwide, but inside of our online tutoring community people have found all 5 of the following payment systems effective.

Taxes

Taxes made simple

There are many resources out there for tracking my taxes, but my favorite one is Taxbot.  In the beginning, I was terrible at keeping track of my mileage.  I know there are a few of I that thinking, but Joanne I tutor online, how could I have to keep track of mileage.  Well, there are times where I meet people at a Starbucks, drop off mail, or travel for speaking gigs.  I was terrible at keeping track of my mileage.  However, with Taxbot I just turn it on, and it does the rest.  Also, I can take a picture of all receipts and enter it immediately without having to save my receipts to deal with later.

I have to admit that I do all of the tax information for my business using an excel spreadsheet and Taxbot, but when it comes to filing my taxes, I just hand it over to my husband who uses Turbotax.  The first year we had a tax accountant help us with the taxes to make sure we filed everything properly.  However, ever since then using Turbotax has worked perfectly.  In fact, there is even one to one live support for small business owners.

Randy Sally, from Penrose Tutoring, loves using zipbooks because of all the different features that it has.  He appreciates that it has a monthly, yearly and all-time income statement.  It also can store client names, contact information, and recurring invoices.

How to Get Online Tutoring Students

Marketing to get new online tutoring students

To get found online an online tutor will want to make sure that he/she has a website.  There are many free sites these days that are drag and drop simple.  I use Wix, but others have had success with Weebly.

When I first got started in this industry, I had to create a separate blog from my website.  Now I can embed my blog right on my website.  This is great because Google loves fresh content.  Websites that are static do not get on page one of Google.  Consistent great content helps to get on page one.

Through a blog on my website, I can insert videos I made and upload them to Youtube (which is owned by Google).  The more Job_security in Teaching for Life: Best Online Teaching Toolsresources I create, the more visible I become to potential clients.

To get on page one, I can find out which words people are typing into the search bar in a tool called Instakeywords.  Then I can create content based on these search terms so that people typing them in can find me.

To get found online I have also written books and have them on Amazon in both softcover and Kindle versions.  I still have people who find me today from books that I wrote five years ago.

Another way to get found is by creating an online course.  Once people have had the opportunity to try out my services through a course I have created, they trust that I am the tutor they have been looking for.

In addition to online marketing efforts, bandit signs (those signs that people stake to the ground), business cards, and flyers also work to get the word out there about my business.

Once I begin to get clients and results, word of mouth begins, and I do not have to rely so much on spending tons of time getting the word out there about my business.

Using social media to get new online tutoring students

Social Media to get new online tutoring students

Whenever I address the question of how do I get students online I mention to people that I need to create an online presence.  One way to do this is through Social Media.  The top 4 Social Media resources to get familiar with are Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.

On LinkedIn I made sure to fill out my profile to 100%.  Filling out my profile allowed me to get on page 1 of Google when people search for my name.  The great thing about LinkedIn is that I fill out all of my information.  Also, I can ask people to recommend me.  I have people leave testimonials on LinkedIn so that others can read about the successes that I have had with other people’s kids.

For people that are working with college level kids, they have experienced great results with Twitter.  My go to social media resource is Facebook because that is where parents my age (I have officially turned 40) that have kids struggling with reading are hanging out.

I know that taking a look at all of these resources may seem daunting and overwhelming right now, but this list will come in handy as you think about the tools to use to teach online, how to run an online tutoring business and how to get students.

Now that you have seen some the tools available, which ones are your favorite?  List below the ones that you find helpful.

 

Are you ready to book your online tutoring business solid?

Over the next few months, I am going to be revamping the Book your Online Tutoring Business Solid program.  You will get access to both the old version and the new version as it is being created.  One of the benefits of purchasing any of the programs that I have created is that you get any updated program free as well.  Also, as I am re-creating the program, you can ask any questions that you have on live calls.

This program typically costs $197, but during this month I am offering a $100 discount.  Just BOOKEDSOLID.  This brings the cost down to $97 and pays for itself over and over again.

You will learn techniques for getting clients online that will ensure that you have the lifestyle you have always wanted.  You will get to teach kids, anywhere in the world, anytime you prefer to work.  Lastly, you won’t have to figure out the best online teaching tools, because we have done all the hard work for you.

 

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