The last year has proven to many of us that we can have the best online lesson plans in the world, but those don’t mean much if students can’t see you or hear you. While we may not be able to do much about wonky internet connection on their end, there are some simple things that we can do on our ends to make sure that we’re giving students the best chance to see us and hear us well.
Improve Your Lighting
At the beginning of the school year lots of people asked me for recommendations for webcams. My reply to most of them was to first make sure that your lighting is good. Good lighting can make a cheap webcam look good. Bad lighting can make an expensive webcam look bad.
You can improve how you look in virtual meeting by doing these five things:
- Elevate your webcam.
- Look at your webcam (nobody want to look up your nose or look at the top of your forehead for an hour).
- Use even lighting (even a cheap ring light like this one can make a big difference).
- Remove background distractions.
- Fill the screen, but not too much. An arm’s length from your webcam is a good rule of thumb so that you’re not giving a close-up of your pores and not so far away that you look like you’re presenting from space.
Improve Your Sound
You can improve your sound by getting a good external microphone like this one. You can also improve your sound by using the sound settings that are built into Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Team.
Here’s how to filter background noise in Zoom.
Here’s how to filter background noise in Microsoft Team.
When you’re sharing audio in Google Meet, share just the tab that is playing the audio instead of your whole desktop.