We were lucky. In early 2020, some instructors in our association were in other countries giving us a heads up about the upcoming spread of Covid-19. We made it a priority to start preparing ourselves and our school for transferring our teaching from in person to online. What we were not prepared for, was how quickly everything happened.
The first week of March, in Franklin, TN, we had the first confirmed case in the state, and we were one of the first states to have an outbreak. As an instructor and business owner in a small town, I didn't think that would be the case. It was important for us to respond quickly and become leaders in our industry. This was not the time to play catch up. We had a plan for what we were going to teach and we thought we had an idea how, but needed to act fast. We started on facebook. We recorded videos to post but that was too much work and not enough interaction with our students. We switched to ZOOM and we were able to learn and experiment in the first couple weeks. Then we were on our way.
Teaching in March 2020. Facebook Live only allowed me to teach, not see my students.
Now, for the technical issues. We wanted to produce quality material and we needed to figure out what things we needed to upgrade to get the polished look we were going for. Our number one concern was a postitive zoom experience because that was how we were servicing most of our clients. We needed consistently quality video and sound, but we also needed it to be some what mobile and user friendly. We didn't need a fancy camera because zoom is only producing somewhat quality video. We settled on iPad and a lens kit.These two items helped us to get quality video and sound with mobility. We were also able to teach in small spaces and movement in our shot with the lens kit. (THIS IS A GAME CHANGER!) If you need more space to move and teach or roam to move when you are learning a wide angle lens is what you need. We are also using an Amazon Lightweight tripod and magnetic mount.
The IPAD allows you to have 16 students displayed at a time. But it does not allow breakout rooms.
I also discovered quickly that my voice was getting worn out from all of the talking in classes. We were used to way heavier class loads but I was losing my voice after teaching a couple classes a day. So, I got myself some AirPods. This was another big help because it allowed me to be able to teach with out straining my voice and helped me to hear my students better when they were trying to communicate with me. In our kids classes we had classes with 20+ students on a regular basis and so the AirPods helped to distinguish between the voices.
Audio is important, but taking care of yourself is more important.
We've progressed in 2020, and we have learned a lot. We are now pushing into new technologies and have better video and sound equipment but I am still using my IPAD, Lens, AirPods, and tripod for all of my zoom classes. All in all, make it easier for yourself and get some tools.