You will be using a computer for live video chats or recorded lectures so it has to meet the necessary requirements. The parts have a significant impact on how well your computer performs. In your case, do you have the right computer specs for online teaching?
Knowing your computer’s specifications will help you gauge its performance. You become familiar with each component’s value, troubleshoot minor issues, and generally understand how the specifications provide the experience you’re getting.
These are actually quite small components inside your computer, but they are what separate successful from failed online instruction. Knowing and comprehending the requirements for your computer also guarantees that you can handle any issues that arise along the path.
Does your computer deliver at least the minimum requirements? I’m talking of specs like the CPU, type of hard drive, the processor you use, or the amount of RAM.
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The Right Computer Specs for Online Teaching
“Specs” means the computer’s hardware specifications. This term comprises the technical descriptions of the computer’s faculty and capabilities. Specs also outline the basic measurements of a computer. Some of the most important terms are common to both desktop and laptop computers.
CPU means Computer Processing Unit and the main part of a computer system. This is where you will find the main memory, control unit, Random access memory (RAM), and arithmetic-logic unit (ALU).
The CPU is generally a small box containing a tiny chip. From it originates the different directives and calculations for the machine to perform the required operations on the data supplied. This is the reason why people are willing to spend when it comes to their CPUs.
Although the standard core i3 processors can get you by, core i5 processors have more cores so it has an all-out capacity to run different processes simultaneously without straining your CPU.
An Intel i5 quad-core is mostly recommended for online teaching. It performs better in speed and graphics level. It has a larger cache (on-board memory) so it deals better with repetitive tasks faster. If you’re editing or calculating spreadsheets, your CPU will not keep reloading as the calculations show the right figures almost instantly.
Thanks to its built-in turbo boost, the Intel i5 gives higher clock speeds that enable the processor to run faster than its base clock speed. Its integrated graphics feature makes it a choice for heavy gaming. However, there are the Intel i7 or higher CPUs if you really need higher performance.
The Intel i5 provides greater clock speeds with its integrated turbo boost, allowing the CPU to run faster than its standard clock speed. It is a good option for intense gaming because of its integrated graphics function. If you truly need better performance, there are also Intel i7 or higher CPUs available.
In general, the Core i3 CPU is good if you’re only looking for an Intel computer, while the Core i5 CPU is designed with higher capacity for those who care about performance – like teaching.
If the CPU is the principal part of the computer, then the RAM or Random Access Memory is the central system that allows your machine to perform different processes at the same time.
It lets you browse the internet, edit a spreadsheet, load applications, watch movies, or play games. RAM also lets you switch from task to task, remembering each task as you switch to another. The speed of your system corresponds to the amount of your RAM. If you install too little, it will work slowly and sluggishly.
While RAM can store information, it only stores it on a short-term basis and should not be confused with the hard drive. The hard drive is for permanent storage and RAM is only used for the temporary safekeeping of information just so you can quickly access the data that your computer is using.
The simple example here is that when you’re not using a certain program, it is inactively stored on the hard drive. The difference is – it’s much quicker to access data in RAM than it can access the same data stored on a hard drive.
In online teaching, your download and upload speeds are important for downloading courseware and running the teaching platform. If you hear people saying that 4GB RAM is good enough for teaching, they are right. But the 8GB has been the standard RAM favored by teachers for virtual productivity and less demanding games.
When it comes to RAM, the larger your memory, the larger projects you can do, and the more tasks you can complete. But if you are running plenty of tasks that require a more intensive memory, you need more than 8GB of RAM.
Every computer needs a hard drive to store its operating system, applications, and files of data. Your type of drive will help you power a higher education technique. There are two things to look at here:
- Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
- Solid State Drive (SSD)
The main difference between an HDD and SSD is in the manner data is stored and accessed.
A hard disk drive (HDD) is a traditional, separate storage device that uses a read-write mechanism using a platter (disc) to access data. It uses a movable rotating disc that spins while working on data. The faster the spin, the faster its performance.
HDDs retrieve data electromechanically. This means that it takes more physical movement as it requires a mechanical arm to move to the right location on the storage platter in order to locate specific data. HDDs have the capacity to store larger amounts of data at a lower cost per gigabyte.
A solid-state drive (SSD) is a newer and faster storage device that reads, writes, and stores data on instantly accessible flash-memory chips. They can retain data even when there’s no power. This device is similar to USB sticks where the data is stored without any parts moving (like that of an HDD).
SSDs read and write data using an embedded processor or controller. This gives them the ability to access data electronically resulting in a faster boot and speedy transfer. But in terms of price, SSDs per gigabyte can be seven times higher than HDD.
The question of whether to select HDD or SSD depends on the demand for your online teaching requirements when it comes to the reliability of their computing systems. Both storage devices do the same job: they boot your system and store your files. But each has its own unique traits.
Since pressure involving online teaching has become more challenging, look at how each data storage differs, and why would you want to get one over the other. This way, you will find which exactly can help you gather and assess data with speed and accuracy.
Learn the essentials of the parts inside a computer. Watch the video below.
Any computer will do, but an online teacher needs a PC with a good display and one that runs quietly. The computer should also have a good microphone that cancels out ambient noise and light.
Many teachers find the 24 to 27-inch desktop display great enough for its dedicated graphics card and a built-in webcam. While not every model is the most beautiful, these sizes are great for video chatting with multi-media features suitable for home office or classroom.
Ensure that your computer monitor enables you to move while giving lectures. You should have the freedom to sit up and maintain a straight posture. It should allow you to write, or use other teaching materials with ease of movement.
For desktop users, this is where having two monitors can be handy because the mounting arms let you place the screens next to each other. For laptop users who prefer to place their laptops next to external monitors, this configuration is also advantageous. Additionally, dual monitors free up the workspace.
There is also a powerful desktop with a tower and monitor that you can get. If you are thinking of a desktop set-up, consider one that gives a stunning display. But whether you are using a desktop or laptop, an organization that you find convenient at all angles remains perfect.
Well, this may be outside of the computer specs, but external devices are an important element that goes well with your computer if you want to create a successful online class.
Internet Quality. Internet quality means the right internet speed that lets your class hear or see you. If you don’t have enough Mbps, you will be getting a slow internet page display and slow playback of course videos. There probably is no “too many Mbps” for online teaching because it’s obvious that the higher the speed, the better.
Audio and Video. Most certainly, these two are key elements for good e-learning content. High-quality audio helps capture your learners’ attention and allows them to contextualize information so much better. A resolute external microphone is your perfect strategy to give your virtual teaching a boost.
Look for the best microphone or wireless headphones.
USB Ports. Some laptops have one, two, or 3 USB ports. In online teaching, USB ports are essential for you to plug in your flash drive, keyboard, mouse, headset, and even your Wifi router. USB hubs serve as an extension in case your computer does not have enough USB ports.
USB Flash Drive. The USB flash drive is the most commonly used type of flash drive and the easiest way to save important files. You needed this for storing, copying, and transferring different files on multiple computers. Also called the “keychain drive,” this allows you to bring your work with you. It is so handy you can connect it to the USB port on your computer.
Interruptions to your lessons caused by poor internet connectivity are a discredit to you and your students. You may either lose their trust or give them the lousiest online learning experience.
Even though it seems difficult to find the most flawless internet connection, there are reliable internet providers offering consistent speeds. To be on the safe side, it is highly recommended for teachers to subscribe to an Internet package. You will be downloading courseware and running the teaching platform, so go for a speed that possibly exceeds the minimum requirements, if possible.
The minimum requirement for online learners is a 1.5 Mbps Internet speed. In some areas, Fiber offers a simultaneous connection of 20 Mbps speed both for upload and download. Some have high-speed internet of at least 50Mbps.
If you’re having speed issues despite a good subscription, connect your machine via an Ethernet cable to ensure maximum stability. This is also the reason why most online teaching companies require a cable connection.
The following computer specs are sufficient for virtual teaching:
- Windows 10 or MAC OS 10 or later
- Safari 11 or later
- Microsoft Edge, Firefox 48 or later
- 250 GB hard drive or higher
- 4 GB RAM or higher
- 2.0 GHz Intel or AMD processor
- An updated anti-virus program
- Computer microphone and speakers
- Web Camera
- High-speed Wi-Fi connection
To Sum It Up
As the demand for the right online learning tools continues to grow, you as a teacher are likewise expected to learn useful tech skills, as well. If you already have established a dedicated space for online teaching, then you simply need to speed up your personal computer or upgrade the RAM to boost system performance.
Perfecting the right computer specs for online teaching builds engagement. When technology is appropriately consolidated in the class, your students get more interested because they are able to connect and catch up better. Not only does it encourage knowledge retention but collaboration and individual learning, too.
Above all, the right or above-average computer specs are extremely helpful for teachers who are having internet quality issues in their area. Quality hardware is a lot capable of covering up incompetencies like this.
But if and after having all these specs your internet remains dragging, read our post, Reasons Why Your Internet Is So Slow.
Do you have anything else to share about computers for online teaching? Leave them in the comments. It would help many teachers, for sure.