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If you are an online teacher who has to wake up in the early hours of the morning to teach students who are 13 hours ahead of you, you’ll know that good lighting is essential for your home classroom setup.
Sufficient lighting is a requirement if you want to teach at an online ESL teaching company; otherwise, you may not be hired.
In this article, we’ll talk about the best lighting for online teaching, with tips on implementing it in the classroom.
Is regular lighting enough?
When using the regular lighting in your room, you might experience some shadows, similar to the picture.
But when you invest in your lighting setup and point it directly at you and your classroom, you’ll realize that you can be seen a whole lot better, and it looks much more professional.
The picture depicting the “sufficient” or “adequate” lighting is nothing special because there are still some shadows. But you can use lights from both the right and left sides to remove those shadows if you want really good lighting (I teach from 8 am to 2 pm so I rely more on natural lighting).
What about a lamp with a flexible head?
An ordinary lamp is meant for lighting the room, not your face. It won’t provide adequate lighting but create shadows, and if you point it directly on your face, it might blind you!
What kind of lighting do I need for online teaching?
While I don’t really depend on lighting as an online teacher, because I teach after 8 am when it’s starting to brighten, I know that many teachers in the USA and Canada have to get up super early to teach online classes.
This means that teachers from the USA and Canada are highly dependent on a light source for their online classes, and if there are any problems with their lights breaking during the session, they are in a bit of a dilemma.
That is why I would suggest staying away from the cheaper lighting solution and look for something practical and can provide a stable source of lighting that you can depend on for each online class.
Lighting can be affordable and make all the difference in your online classroom. If you are not planning to make Youtube videos about teaching, you don’t need a professional setup, just something that can provide stable, adequate lighting.
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Best Lighting for Online Teaching
Deciding on your lighting should be easy. You just need to find something that is adjustable and provides white light to help you look more inviting and give a fresher appearance.
We’ll look at some of the best lighting options for online teachers and how you can use them conveniently at home.
A small, portable ring light can be placed on your desk and help light a room.
The small light provides you with different brightness levels to choose from, so you can turn it up or down depending on your environment’s lighting conditions.
The lamp allows you to choose from white, warm white, and warm yellow light to help you find something that complements you and your environment.
The tripod legs don’t extend much, so it needs to be placed on a desk or somewhere in front of you where it can easily light your left and right side.
I have one similar to this one, which I think was absolutely worth the investment.
The larger portable ring light is great because it can stand further away from your laptop while providing sufficient lighting.
Having the light further away is a bonus for me because I don’t feel too overwhelmed by the bright light. Yet it’s bright enough to help me feel more awake on those cold, winter mornings.
The only annoying thing is finding a place to plug it in without tripping across even more wires in the online classroom setup.
There are also wireless ring lights on Amazon, but I prefer having my devices plugged in when I am depending on them.
This light is adjustable with different light modes and levels of brightness to choose from.
The LED Panel is an excellent piece of equipment to light up a dull classroom.
These LED panels have energy-saving LEDs with adjustable brightness.
The LED panel also comes with two different filters known to soften the light source and change the color temperature.
It is wireless, with long-running times, so you can conveniently place it anywhere in your room.
It’s an extremely versatile light and can be used for other functions and events, such as weddings and making Youtube videos!
If you buy two, it provides a significant proportion of light to both sides of the face and classroom, but if you can only afford one, that’s enough to provide sufficient lighting too.
You may also be interested in: The Best English Teaching Companies in 2022.
Reviewers have been quoted to say that the battery life was approximately four hours using 75% of its total brightness. There is also the option to buy a power adaptor.
You should also consider where you are going to put the LED panel.
I recommend buying an adjustable stand that you can prop near your computer to angle and position the LED panel easily.
Here is a high-quality stand that you can find on Amazon. It can support all kinds of photography equipment, and it’s foldable so you can put it away when you are not using it.
This is very similar to the LED Panel mentioned previously, except it has 480 LED beads, and an AC adaptor is included.
This LED panel emits a lot of light.
You can’t go wrong with the price, and there are many rave reviews for this product in the comments section.
The one-year warranty protects you if there any problems with the light, but it should provide a superb lighting experience for your online classroom, regardless of the time of day.
Need to buy an HD webcam?
Time to kill two birds with one stone. This webcam comes with its own built-in ring light, which means that you can look flawless in HD!
I thought that the ring light add-on might be of low quality when it comes with the webcam for such reasonable pricing, but that seems not to be the case.
The ring light adjusts its brightness using touch control and optimizes the image automatically with facial recognition.
The webcam also allows you to download Chromacam and use it to change your background. It autofocuses on your image, so you don’t have to worry about a poorly lit room.
Just plug your webcam into your USB port as usual and start using it as lighting for your online teaching classes. It can also be hooked to a tripod.
This lighting kit not only saves energy but provides enough lighting for a natural daylight effect.
Unlike other lightboxes with one lightbulb, it provides soft lighting with two large lightbulbs, which is a good idea in case of an emergency power outage. However, both lightbulbs should last a very long time.
The lightbox comes with an adjustable tripod, so you can bring it down to size to fit your classroom.
The lighting is a white color and is also very bright. They work well in classrooms with little to no natural lighting.
Some teachers even recommend the selfie ring light, which can be attached to your laptop. This selfie ring light is affordable and can be attached to your laptop while teaching.
However, use with caution! I’ve heard multiple reports of these getting dimmer and dimmer during the class until they’ve completely powered out! They are known to run out of battery fairly quickly, so be sure to carefully read the reviews.
This might be a good option for teachers who can keep them plugged in during class time, or don’t teach for long periods of time.
Maybe you have your immediate surroundings lit very well using lighting equipment but your classroom background is not standing out the way you would like it to.
If you feel as though your classroom background is still not catching the light, consider using string lights or fairy lights in the background.
These provide a warm and friendly feeling and don’t necessarily have to be white but accentuate your classroom background.
There are many different lighting conditions and considerations to make regarding your online teaching classroom.
These are some of the best lighting solutions for online teaching, especially if you teach in the early hours of the morning or late at night.
Lighting makes a phenomenal difference to your online classroom. It helps you appear more professional in the interview, and students are more likely to continue to book your classes when your classroom setting is warm and inviting.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.