We had a very successful webinar with Paul Grimbly – Business Development Manager at Advanced Voice & Data Networks. Paul is the husband of an online piano teacher who has been following Musicology and using the platform since it’s early alpha days. He has been in the IT industry for over 40 years working for IBM mostly and an avid supporter of new technology. Paul spent a good hour answering questions from music teachers around the world on our webinar and everyone left so much more knowledgeable!
Here are some notes from that call:
Q. What is an ideal internet speed for teaching online?
A. This depends on your existing internet speed plus how many devices are online at the same time and what those devices are doing. Example: I’m teaching a Musicology class and my children are playing video games on one device, another is surfing the web and my other child is watching Netflix. The connection therefore will be drastically reduced as it needs to support all of the devices using it during that time. Another factor to consider is that most teachers are teaching after school when everyone gets home and goes online. This will also slow service down if you are on an old cable network. The minimum speed for teaching on Musicology – without anyone else online at home – would be around a 20 download speed and a 10 upload speed. Speed can also be drastically reduced if the device that is being used is old and not maintained well. There are many factors that come into play. If you are experiencing spotty internet issues please visit www.speedtest.net to get a good reading. Checking your speed on Google will tell you that you have “good internet” but that is only good for web surfing – not video conferencing.
Q. What does upload, download and PING mean?
A. Upload is the information you are sending to your student. Download is the information that is coming to you from your student. PING is the latency between the two of you. Upload will usually be a lower number then download but they are both equally important during an online lesson. A low PING number is better than a higher one. If you have around five or less PING you are in good shape!
Q. What is an ideal setup for online teaching?
A. A router that is less than four years old is ideal. Ask your provider for a newer one if you’ve had it for a long time – they will replace it for free! Using an ethernet cable will give you the most stable connection but if that’s not possible, mesh Wi-Fi works extremely well. You will have to pay extra for this. Pods are also an option but you have to position them correctly. Place them in a chain-like sequence from your router to your computer. Think of the beam from a light – you want those beams to be able to reach each other from the router to the pods to the computer.
Q. What can one do to maintain their devices?
A. First do an internet speed test at www.speedtest.net. Take those numbers and call your internet service provider and find out what you are paying for currently. Give them the numbers from your test and they should be able to determine if you need a new router or something needs to be boosted from their end. Next, check for updates on your computer, manage your storage and data and restart your computer. If you are still experiencing issues while teaching online, check the age of your computer – it may be time for an upgrade. A computer over five years of age that hasn’t been maintained will cause the platform you are using to teach online to slow down and you will notice issues. If you are not ready to buy a new computer, see if a company like GeekSquad can clean it out for you. They will usually rent you another one while it is being fixed!
Q. What is the biggest change you noticed with the rise of the technological era and what can we expect moving forward?
A. The biggest changes I have seen are 2 fold. A) Fiber vs Copper and B) Remote areas where wired internet is either not available or very slow and new services such as Satellite Wi-Fi (Starlink) provided by Elon Musk. His services are now allowing people to have a better grade of internet capability anywhere in the world (well, most places). Suggestion: if you are having trouble, use the video but have your students call in on a cell or home phone line.
Suggestion: if you are having trouble, use the video but have your students call in on a cell or home phone line.
Checklist to send to students
- Do a speed test at www.speedtest.net
Make sure no one else is online if your package is a basic package
- Reset your router (push and hold button on side for 10 seconds and release)
- Close unused tabs or background apps
- Refresh Chrome
- Quit and restart Chrome
- Turn your device off and on again
- Check for updates for your iOS, OS or Chrome
- If your router is more than four years old, call your provider for a new one
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