Trends For Online Teachers: Q4 2017

What are the trends for online teachers as we near the end of 2017?

It’s October, and officially Q4 of 2017. My, how the year has flown by! This year has produced a number of interesting trends in the online teaching and digital nomad scenes. It seemed a good time to note what we’ve observed this year, as our rapidly evolving industry pushes forward by embracing modern technology.

Here are the top trends for online teachers coming into Q4 of 2017.                           

The power of coming together is driving location independence

I know, I know. This sounds like an oxymoron. But think about it: what are the biggest factors that contribute to a successful online teacher? Hint: It’s not locking himself away in a home office.

For those who’ve left the traditional classroom, the need to network and be amongst like minds is stronger than ever. Subscription member communities, co-working spaces, conferences, and even local happy hours are among the most popular methods for connecting location independent entrepreneurs.

Sure, you can park behind a MacBook and work with your students, never leaving the house. But if you’re anything like us, you want to progress your business. Face-to-face contact is essential. Despite the increase in remote work options, people are moving into cities at an incredibly high rate (180,000 per day).

Why? That’s where new opportunities can be found (even if that city happens to be on the other side of the globe).

Video is the future, and the future is now

I recently sat having drinks with the publisher of a leading travel magazine. We were discussing the current state of media, and he said something that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since. “Video is the future of media.” For online teachers, that’s good news – we use video on a daily basis. This isn’t just big as far as trends for online teachers, it’s big for online work as a whole.

The sentiment here is easy to confirm. Newspapers, ad agencies, travel blogs – they’re all incorporating video to draw attention and increase engagement. Even traditional schools are incorporating video-based lesson plans into the classroom.

From a business standpoint, online teachers can use this trend to push their marketing efforts forward. Social media ads and newsletter campaigns should incorporate video. Adobe recently reported that 51.9% of marketing professionals note video as providing the best ROI. There’s no harm using video in teaching your lessons either.

Digital nomads, including online teachers, are driving the trend both on social media and through their businesses. We’re teaching our lessons via webinar platforms, and live broadcasting on social media platforms have become standard marketing practice for many location independent businesses.

According to business.com, Facebook recently reported 8 billion video views per day across its platform. It’s no accident that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have live streaming capabilities.

Online teachers are maximizing the value of their personal experience

When the standard resume is no longer a barrier to entry, the power of a varied collection of skillsets begins to shine. If you’re a follower of blogs and podcasts related to teaching online (such as this one), you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme that most of us in this industry have in common:

It took a wide variety of skills to get to where we are.

Many (I’d venture to say most) of us didn’t have remote work on a laptop as our top priority when we entered the education field.

The road to teaching online is a long and winding path that ultimately results from a desire to break away from the traditional concept of what a career is. Etching out a living independently requires a diverse collection of skills not learned in a traditional classroom setting, such as how to work from the road and how to manage students in distance learning environments.

A bit of business savvy, the ability to live on next to nothing, and a fine-tuned level of self-discipline are essentials. But you may just find yourself using the sweet-talking skills you picked up working as a restaurant server in college to put the closing touches on your new marketing campaign to drive student traffic.

What skills have you picked up over the years that helped (or can help) you build a location independent lifestyle?

Apps are where it’s at                                         

“Slack me, bro!” These days, it seems as though every blogger and publication has a post about business and travel apps. A good old phone call or email hardly seems to be enough anymore.

Apps have changed the way nomadic workers communicate with clients and coworkers, and there are so many to choose from that it can be overwhelming. What I’ve found to be most effective is to choose the few that are most appropriate to your line of work, and master them.

In particular, these apps are a driving force right now in the location independent community:

  • Sidekix– Neighborhood guides and travel tips, downloadable from the app.
  • Classroom communication apps such as Twiducate is social media for the classroom, originally designed for K-12 but now expanding to include higher education and online outlets.
  • Workfrom. Finally, we can locate the nearest WiFi. Potentially the greatest invention for online teachers since the MacBook. Once connected, this app displays WiFi speed and allows users to share photos of where they’re working from. They can leave reviews and note great work spots they’ve discovered.
  • Project management and classroom tools like Google Classroom Asana and RedBooth allow remote teams to work together on projects, assign and review tasks, and stay up to date on everything work-related.
  • We talk much more about apps in our article “Best Apps for Online Teachers.”

The best content delivered the best way

As technology advances so too does the ability for a teacher to provide the most relevant material to students. Outdated textbooks are out the window. The capabilities of modern journalism, information systems, and data collections allow students and teachers to access up-to-the-minute information on the subjects they’re learning and teaching, without having to wait for it.

The best part? Once a student is signed up for an online course, any sort of knowledge barrier is all but eliminated. The mere fact that they’re taking a class or course online demonstrates that they have access to the internet and thus to the vast trove of information within.

From the teacher’s perspective, the task then becomes ‘How do I teach my students to decipher what’s real from what’s not?’ Fake news and misinformation have dominated headlines over the past year. Now that major players such as Facebook are beginning to take a stand against it, the rest of this year along with 2018 should prove to be a breakthrough year in identifying and optimizing trustworthy information on the internet.

 

With all that’s going on in the world of online teaching, we’re excited to see what develops over these next few months. Certainly, there will be fresh trends for online teachers. Here’s to our location independence!

Ray is the founder and creator of Teacher Indie. He is an award-winning entrepreneur who has created online education businesses that have appeared in publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Boston Globe and many others. His goal is to help teachers from around the world get online and gain the financial independence they deserve.

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