TEACHING ONLINE: software or method

I’m a self employed English Language teacher working in the north of Italy.
The Coronavirus crisis has locked down my entire working zone.
I’m hoping to salvage something by continuing to work with my one-to-one students online.

I’m looking for a software or method for teaching online.

I want to see the student, and student see me

I need part of the screen to be dedicated to an interactive blackboard space, where I & student can write in the same pace; we can see each other’s input, and copy & eventually paste elsewhere.

Everything that we write during the lesson should be all on a one-page format so that we can copy & eventually paste elsewhere in one swoop everything written
during the lesson.

I would like to be able to dictate onto the blackboard.

I would like to be able to paste images onto the blackboard.

For the moment, that’s how I imagine things ought to be.

Would be grateful for any suggestions.

Many thanks.

I think Zoom, with its whiteboard feature and a shared Google Doc, would accomplish everything you’re aiming to do.


I am in the same situation, my university has banned all students from both our campuses.

We’re using Adobe Connect which works incredibly well. I’ve been giving classes to 40-50 students multiple times a day this week and it is very reliable, it works great on Mac and iPad. It has some excellent features like whiteboards, slide sharing and splitting the class into groups. It’s also zero-hassle for students, and we’ve had students connect from all around the world without issue (we have students from 70 countries, many of whom have flown home).

It was set up by the IT department of the university though, so I have no idea how easy it is to set up or how much it costs.


Thanks for the hint!

Does anyone have any comments on the pros/cons of Adobe Connect versus Zoom?

I also recommend getting an app to do direct videos of your screen to allow you to make on-the-fly demos to post. This site has some recommendations.


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Thanks, beck.

Will have a look.

Thanks, Rob_Polding

Will investigate.

I love Zoom. But it’s whiteboard features are hard to use with a keyboard/mouse/trackpad only. It’s much easier to connect with a tablet device and use a pointer. Your video and audio go through the main computer and the tablet is shared into the same meeting to use as a whiteboard.


One nice feature of Zoom, if you have a Mac and iPad, is that one of the sharing methods is AirPlay. You can therefore share your iPad screen to your Mac (which is the machine connecting to the videoconference), and use it as a whiteboard along with the Apple Pencil.


This will be useful.

Yes, good point! If you want a viewer to add to the drawing, though, is that possible in the tablet control?

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It is quite a useful feature. I draw on my iPad frequently for student meetings in Zoom and have experienced Zoom dropping my iPad from time to time and it needing to be re-shared. I’ve also had troubles getting it to sync over wifi and/or cable, both. All that to say, you may come across glitches, but they are usually surmountable.


The Zoom Support article says it is possible. See this KB and look under the iOS section.

But again, the student annotators will have only crude drawing abilities if using a trackpad and not a drawing input.

Some people use third-party whiteboard websites and share that screen, but I don’t have a current list to recommend.

I would love to hear from others who have had anything but frustrating experiences using a trackpad for annotations.

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Yes. Ugh! It would seem that we should pull out our old Bamboo tablets and donate them out to the students.


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Over on Twitter, I just saw Andy Matuschak recommend https://scribbletogether.com for cross-platform, collaborative, virtual white boarding. Seems like those with iPads can dial in to the board with their pencils. So can Andriod users and so can desktop users.

He also recommended https://mural.co for affinity diagramming/sticky note work.

(I have used neither tool.)


Zoom fluid “in the moment”, Connect more “planned.”

Many thanks for everybody’s input. I’m investigating all suggestions.
Here is a graphic illustration of what I’m looking for:

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Me Too! (and everyone else doing this now)


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I’d add live video, if not already assumed in the above.

I’m currently in a Zoom meeting on my phone & this would seem to meet the criteria above

The image is the screen being shared by the trainer.

update: after a few hours working with Zoom, I’m impressed…

Is Zoom really free? It is SO cool!