Wednesday, June 19, 2013


One of my favorite quotes about teaching!

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
William Arthur Ward

What type of teacher are you?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Virtual Classroom Tools: Headset & Microphone

When I first started working with language teachers on the use of virtual classroom technology, one question that I was asked quite often is why a headset is necessary, especially if the computer has a really great internal microphone.  Here are some of the answers:

When one is only talking on Skype using the computer internal microphone might work if the teacher is in a very quiet office with no interruption.  Skype has a really good noise cancellation system.  However, in most virtual classrooms, when one is not using a headset, there is a chance that there will be an echo unless you are muted all the time.  It is very distracting to hear yourself as you are talking or a few seconds later.  I have personally done several presentations with people new to virtual classroom technology and as I was speaking, I would hear myself through the person's internal speaker.  If the person would have been wearing a headset, I would not have been distracted.  I did get used to it, but it was distracting and difficult to concentrate.

Another reason a headset and microphone is suggested when teaching in a virtual classroom is because of privacy.  If someone walks in, he/she can hear everything that is being said.  I don't know about you, but if I were a student, I wouldn't want to broadcast my efforts at learning a language with everyone in the room--only with my teacher.

A final reason that a headset and microphone is suggested in a virtual classroom is that it is more professional!  It gives the student a perception that you truly know what you are doing in the classroom as you have all of the tools.  Additionally, as an employer, I wouldn't hire someone who does not invest in this specific tool.