Categories
lifestyle quarantine teaching

Six Tips to Improve Your Video Conference

six tips to improve your video conference

SIX TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO CONFERENCE

I work online, and I do video conferencing every day. Now that we are well into our quarantine, and we are all communicating online, I want to give six tips to improve your video conference.

  1. CAMERA POSITION

Make sure your camera is at eye level. If it is anywhere else, it is going to give an odd perspective. If your laptop is set up on a low coffee table, it is looking up at you, and your audience sees you distorted. They see huge knees. They see up your nose. They see the underside of your chin. Perhaps they are even getting a crotch shot. A downward view is equally distorting. Raise or lower your camera so that the lens is at eye level.

  1. IMAGE POSITION

Position the top of your head to the top and center of the screen and make sure your image covers more than 50% of the screen. Stay there for the entire conference. To keep yourself from skooching down, sit in a secretary chair or a wooden dining room chair. Chairs with arms and upholstered furniture lend themselves to slouching on camera. Check yourself often so that you continue to sit up straight and occupy more than 50% of the screen.

  1. LIGHTING

Do not put your back to a window. You will be seen in silhouette.

  1. BACKGROUND

Keep your background clean and clear. A blank wall is best. If you don’t have a blank wall, then position your camera for a close up shot so that your face takes up most of the screen. This will lessen the distraction of the background.

  1. MOVEMENT

Sit still. If you use a standing desk, stand still. The camera doesn’t know what to focus on when you are moving about. I have seen many people on video calls this week with their bookcase in focus rather than their face because they are moving around, and the camera doesn’t know where to focus.

  1. SOUND

Mute yourself when you are not speaking. Small sounds that you don’t notice in person can be heard by everyone else. Keyboarding, finger tapping and dogs yapping are all very loud on the mic, even if they are not loud in person.


Let me know if these six tips to improve your video conference have been helpful.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

Online English Class

my online English class

MY ONLINE ENGLISH CLASS

Today I had sound problems in my online English class.

The students couldn’t hear me.

I could hear them.

And they could hear each other.

But they couldn’t hear me.

They could read my chats, so I set them up with an exercise, and I contacted the tech guy for help with the sound.

He said that he couldn’t hear me.

Exactly.

That’s my problem, I told him via the chat box.

No one can hear me.

Can you please help me fix my sound?

I can’t hear you, he repeated.

Ah, now I understand the problem.

The tech guy needs English lessons too.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

She Is a Very Angry Woman

she is a very angry woman

SHE IS A VERY ANGRY WOMAN

Today my English students talked about phobias.

Spiders.

Snakes.

Lightening.

The dark.

In every class, the students seemed to have similar fears.

Except for one man.

He stated that he is afraid of his wife.

She is a very angry woman.

To alleviate his fear, he drinks a lot of beer.

Well.

That escalated quickly.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

A Traffic Ticket

a traffic ticket

A TRAFFIC TICKET

My ESL student told me that she got a traffic ticket.

For driving on the sidewalk.

Wait, what?

On the sidewalk?

Was she on a bicycle?

No, she was in her car.

There was a lot of traffic.

And she was in a hurry.

Oh.

OK then.

As long as there was a good reason.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

Going to the Movies

going to the movies

GOING TO THE MOVIES

Today my adult ESL students were discussing going to the movies.

I broke them into pairs to have a conversation.

Student 1: Would you like to meet me at 5:00 in the evening to see a movie?

Student 2: 5:00 o’clock is not evening. 5:00 o’clock is afternoon.

1:

Me: 5:00 can be called afternoon or evening. Both are OK.

2: 5:00 is afternoon.

Me: You can say that 5:00 is too early, and you would prefer to meet later.

2: 5:00 O’CLOCK IS AFTERNOON!

Yeah, I’m guessing this guy doesn’t get too many invitations.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

Wait, What?

wait, what

WAIT, WHAT?

My ESL students were discussing the importance of sleep.

One of them suggested avoiding cocaine.

Wait, what?

Yeah, I won’t argue with that.

I also won’t discuss it.

I quickly moved the lesson forward to our next agenda item.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

Fish Massage

fish massage

My ESL students were talking about fish massage.

It’s really a thing.

You take off your shoes, roll up your pants, and stick your feet in a fish tank.

Hundreds of fish swarm you and eat all of the dry skin off your feet.

They uploaded some pictures to show me how it’s done.

They are tiny little fish, not piranhas.

But still, it looks creepy.

And not at all sanitary.

I’ll pass on the fish massage…

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

Mouse Meat

mouse meat

MOUSE MEAT

Oh goodness.

Today I had some extra time in class.

So I asked my online English student what I foods I would eat if I visited his tiny, remote village.

I expected to hear about noodles and seafood.

He proudly recommended his mother’s mouse meat.

Um, what? Excuse me?

I asked him to write it in the chat box, just to make sure I heard him correctly.

I heard right.

Mouse meat.

Yeah, no.

I’ll pass.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

Can Laughter Make You Smarter?

can laughter make you smarter

CAN LAUGHTER MAKE YOU SMARTER?

Can laughter make you smarter?

This was a very interesting question posed to me today.

My answer, as an ESL teacher, is a qualified yes.

Qualified because the non-stop class clown jokes are distracting and not at all helpful.

However it is a public speaking axiom that when the audience is laughing, they are leaning in to listen.

With that in mind, I always try to get at least a chuckle out of every class session.

In teaching conversation, the human connection is far more important than grammar rules or vocabulary lists.

If I can garner so much as a hint of a smile, I know I will have a successful ESL session with that student.

Categories
humor lifestyle teaching

National Punctuation Day

national punctuation day

NATIONAL PUNCTUATION DAY

On National Punctuation Day, one of my ESL students had trouble getting into the online classroom.

I had the IT guy work with him while I started up with the rest of the students.

He finally arrived.

He wrote in the chat box, “I’m in yay.”

Another student wrote, “Where is Yay?”

I didn’t laugh out loud.

I never laugh at my students.

But I did stop the lesson to discuss the importance of punctuation.

Happy National Punctuation Day!