Alex Vearey-Roberts (@AVRtutoring) is an online private tutor with over 10 years experience, as well as a degree and PhD in Physics. Based in London, he tutors students globally in maths, physics, and chemistry through the UK System (GCSEs & A-levels) and the US System (SAT and Subject Test SAT in Physics and Mathematics): http://www.onlinemathematicstutor.com
The HUE HD Pro camera has filled in what I had been missing since moving my tutoring from in-person to online. I have tutored for over 10 years and over the past few years I have been predominantly tutoring online – which has opened up the world to me. I love online tutoring as it gives me the opportunity to tutor students who would not always have access to tutors, whether they be at boarding school, travelling with family, or based in remote areas of the UK or the world – as long as they have an internet connection.
Having tutored online for the past 4 years I have been using several online whiteboard and online manipulatives and simulations, all of which are great and incredibly useful, but sometimes it’s just better to be able to get your hands on things. There have been times where I’ve wanted to grab an old textbook (not available digitally) from my shelf and show it to my student. This is the reason I initially tried the HUE HD Pro camera.
Using the ZOOM calling software I have been able to have both my webcam and HUE camera on at the same time. I can imagine people asking, “Why don’t you use your webcam or phone for this?” and it’s a good question. From my experience – and I’ve tried it many times – it is difficult to set up a webcam in this configuration and get the correct focus compared to the HUE HD Pro, which has an easy to use focus wheel.
The HUE HD Pro just works and makes things so much easier, so much so that I sent my own camera to a student of mine so that I could observe their work. There had been some feedback that the student was not presenting their graphs well enough and having the camera at his side allowed me to talk my student through how to better draw and present their data.
In an ideal world it would be great to have a HUE HD Pro camera on each side of the conversation in addition to the online whiteboard. It has been shown that students retain more information when they write their own notes. With students who have also invested in the camera it has given me the opportunity to better monitor the work that they are doing and how they are reacting to the task or instructions I give them.
Since those first experiences I have found a multiple of applications for the camera that make the online tutoring experience even more similar to how I taught in person. I have been able to use manipulatives and run through science experiments or demonstrations together – with exactly the same equipment. This allows me to give direct feedback to the student allowing them to build up their knowledge incrementally.
In chemistry it has enabled me to demonstrate many things that normally I wouldn’t be able to demonstrate – 3D molecular structure and Hydrocarbon Isomers using molecular model sets. Or subtleties like the fact that covalent bonds are not broken when molecules such as water or CO2 change phase from solid to liquid to gas.
In mathematics there are certain circumstances where an online virtual version doesn’t quite give the same feedback to the student as seeing it done with the actual tools, for example the use of compasses to construct shapes or angles.
For older students graphing and scientific calculators can be overwhelming, the visualiser has given me the opportunity to talk through several features of the great variety of calculators to help students to get the most out of their own particular calculator. The ability to see exactly what is being done reduces the occurrences of errors and anxiety that can build up in the use of these calculators.
I’m still discovering new ways of making the most of my HUE HD Pro camera from demonstrating Physics experiments, making my own animations to better explain phenomena, to experimenting with time-lapse photography. The camera has brought a new dimension to my online tutoring experience and I can clearly see how it will further enrich the lessons I provide online.
Alex Vearey-Roberts of Mathematics and Physics Online Tutor is an online private tutor with over 10 years experience, as well as a degree and PhD in Physics.