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September 2nd, 2017, 01:07 AM   #1
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tutoring by webcam

Is there software that makes it possible to do math tutoring by webcam? I can foresee some problems. I want to see what the student is writing... do they hold their paper up to their camera? That seems awkward. Also I want them to see what I'm writing, which I could probably do via screen sharing and using my graphic tablet.

Oh, I want to use my MacBook and it doesn't have a touch screen, but like I said I have a nice graphic tablet. On the other hand maybe I really need a tablet or touch screen computer.

Does the student really need a touch screen or graphic tablet as well? Is it feasible to tutor online without that?

Mike
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September 2nd, 2017, 02:35 AM   #2
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Likely there is a service for this. I know of some online tutoring companies that offer this sort of thing. No need for webcam though. Just voice and a 'whiteboard' to write on.
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September 2nd, 2017, 08:47 AM   #3
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Keep it simple, use Skype, hold up the paper to the cam.
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September 2nd, 2017, 01:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joppy View Post
Likely there is a service for this. I know of some online tutoring companies that offer this sort of thing. No need for webcam though. Just voice and a 'whiteboard' to write on.
The issue is that I don't want to be an employee of a tutoring company so I don't have to give up a good chunk of my fee to them. I'm hoping to find software I can use independently. Perhaps a videoconferencing service? That would provide a whiteboard, but might be overkill and/or too expensive.
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September 2nd, 2017, 01:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mike1127 View Post
The issue is that I don't want to be an employee of a tutoring company so I don't have to give up a good chunk of my fee to them. I'm hoping to find software I can use independently. Perhaps a videoconferencing service? That would provide a whiteboard, but might be overkill and/or too expensive.
just have the camera always focused on their paper or whatever they are writing on. You don't need to see the student's face.
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September 2nd, 2017, 01:58 PM   #6
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just have the camera always focused on their paper or whatever they are writing on. You don't need to see the student's face.
That might work, but it raises the issue of lighting and focusing. If the student is a sloppy writer, combined with poor lighting and focus, I can't see their work. The alternative is that they draw their work directly onto a tablet surface with one of those pen things. This would require special software to make it easy to configure everything and keep us connected in audio and handle dropped connections and all that stuff.

I think that the tutoring companies do provide software as a prior poster mentioned, for instance I'm learning Wyzant's system. But eventually I want to do this independently.

Mike
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September 2nd, 2017, 02:45 PM   #7
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That might work, but it raises the issue of lighting and focusing. If the student is a sloppy writer, combined with poor lighting and focus, I can't see their work. The alternative is that they draw their work directly onto a tablet surface with one of those pen things. This would require special software to make it easy to configure everything and keep us connected in audio and handle dropped connections and all that stuff.

I think that the tutoring companies do provide software as a prior poster mentioned, for instance I'm learning Wyzant's system. But eventually I want to do this independently.

Mike
At the end of the day humans can adapt to situations better than our tools.

If your students have crappy math handwriting and it is keeping you from effectively tutoring them get them to improve their math handwriting.

They might cry and complain but this is just so much more effective than using $5k worth of camera and lighting gear to compensate for their crappy handwriting.
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September 2nd, 2017, 03:34 PM   #8
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At the end of the day humans can adapt to situations better than our tools.

If your students have crappy math handwriting and it is keeping you from effectively tutoring them get them to improve their math handwriting.

They might cry and complain but this is just so much more effective than using $5k worth of camera and lighting gear to compensate for their crappy handwriting.
First of all, it's not about better camera equipment. It's about the idea that they can write directly on their tablet or iPad surface. Basically their iPad and my iPad become a shared whiteboard.

In my experience almost all students resist any attempt to change their handwriting. Whenever I tutor someone for the first time, the last thing on their mind is wanting to change their handwriting. They are usually totally caught up in their worries about the math itself. Perhaps over the long (I mean Long) term people will change their writing and also the way they organize the page, which is especially important if they make a lot of mistakes because they can't read their writing. But it's just not going to happen right away.

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September 2nd, 2017, 08:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mike1127 View Post
The issue is that I don't want to be an employee of a tutoring company so I don't have to give up a good chunk of my fee to them. I'm hoping to find software I can use independently. Perhaps a videoconferencing service? That would provide a whiteboard, but might be overkill and/or too expensive.
I wasn't suggesting that you become an employee of a tutoring company. Rather that, these companies have all the software needed, and so there are bound to be services that can be used by an individual. And so there's certainly no need to 'hold paper up to the camera', which sounds horrendous.

This blog post seems to have quite a bit of useful information. Especially this, which apparently works alongside Skype.
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September 2nd, 2017, 09:28 PM   #10
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I've tutored online. When doing private lessons (as opposed to a tutoring service) I used Vyew (which no longer exists). It was an online whiteboard with MathJax built in. This allowed me to write free-hand using a tablet or type $\LaTeX$ directly. I think I may also have used Twiddla.

There are alternatives around (a list I found).

It's not essential that the student has a stylus/touchscreen, but it does help. More critical is that you do and that you are practiced enough to be able to write clearly.

A camera focused on paper would work OK, but most students are not really set-up to do that (most have webcam built into their laptop if they have one at all).

Last edited by greg1313; September 4th, 2017 at 06:46 PM.
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