equipment for teaching online teacher in an orange shirt smiling while wearing a headset in front of a world map

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Curious about the best equipment for teaching online? This post will cover all the right equipment for online teaching so that setting up your virtual classroom is effortless and fun!

When I first started teaching English online in 2017, it took me a while to figure out what gear I needed. I wanted my classroom to be comfortable and uncluttered, but also effective. After a healthy bit of trial and error, I figured out the best online teaching tools to make my classroom fun and functional.

Let’s take look at some of the best equipment for teaching online!

Best Equipment For Teaching Online Chart

Here’s a quick look at some of the equipment needed for online teaching. I’ve also included recommendations for the gadgets I use in my own online English classroom!

It’s important to note that some online ESL teaching platforms will have specific tech and gear requirements for their teachers. This post is intended to give you the basics that you’ll need for any online teaching position, but remember to check with your specific company before getting started.

Classroom EquipmentFunctionMy Recommendation
LaptopA laptop will likely be your primary teaching device. While some platforms allow you to teach from an iPad or a smartphone, most require that you use a laptop or desktop computer. MacBook Pro
HeadsetUsing a headset with a microphone attachment makes it easier for you and your students to hear each other. It also eliminates annoying background noises and echoes. Nulaxy Headset
WebcamIf you’re using an older computer or a computer without a built-in webcam, you’ll need to buy an external webcam for teaching. If your laptop has a built-in HD quality webcam, this will usually work just fine. Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
LightingGood room lighting ensures that you’re visible to your students and improves the overall quality of the lesson. I use a lamp and a selfie ring light for lighting. Selfie Ring Light
Internet ConnectionWhile it’s possible to teach on just WiFi, it’s preferable to use a wired internet connection for your lessons. I use an ethernet cable and Mac adapter to plug into the router while teaching. Ethernet Cord and Adapter
Laptop StandUsing a laptop stand elevates your computer to eye level while teaching. This means better posture and more comfort during longer teaching sessions. Roost Laptop Stand
Dry Erase BoardA dry-erase board is a teacher staple! Whether you teach adults or children, having a board to quickly write on will always come in handy. Dry Erase Board with Markers
BackgroundMost online teaching platforms require that you have a either blank wall or some kind of academic classroom decorations behind you while you teach. See Background Ideas here
Props and Teaching ToolsFinally, props and visual teaching tools can help engage your students during class. I mainly use 2D images and small stuffed animals. Teach and Wander Props
My virtual classroom setup, complete with my favorite tools for teaching online! Green computer on a laptop stand sits on a desk. Headset and props beside the computer
My virtual classroom setup, complete with my favorite tools for teaching online!

Best Laptop For Teaching Online

For the most part, all newer laptops will work just fine for online teachers. While the system requirements differ with each online teaching platform, most will accept computers running Windows 7 and higher and Mac OS 10.X and higher. You should also get a device with at least 8GB of RAM and an Intel i5 processor or above.

As a general rule, if your device can handle a video Skype or FaceTime call, it should be able to handle online classes. But it’s still important to check the technical requirements for the company you’re planning to teach with before making a purchase.

I use a 2015 MacBook Pro with a 13-inch screen size and it’s held up great! You can shop the latest MacBook Pro computers here.

iPads: If you’re teaching with Zoom, download the Zoom app to teach from your iPad or tablet.

For online ESL teachers, only some platforms like VIPKID support lessons on iPads and tablets, so read your company requirements carefully if you wish to teach on this type of device.

Smartphones: While it’s possible to use Zoom from your smartphone, I wouldn’t recommend this for teaching since the screen size is so small. It’s possible to use in a pinch, but you’ll be more comfortable with a bigger virtual classroom interface.

Teaching English online from your mobile phone is not common, but it is possible with some platforms like Palfish.

Chromebooks: If you plan to teach with Zoom, most features work just fine with Chromebooks. However, if you’re teaching with an online ESL platform, many don’t support teaching on Chromebooks, so make sure to double-check with your company first.

Other popular laptops for online teaching:

Read the full guide: Best Laptops For Online Teaching

Best Headset For Teaching Online

Your headset is going to be one of your most important pieces of equipment for teaching English online.

Headsets with microphone attachments are required for most online teaching positions because they ensure that the teacher and student can hear each other clearly.

A good quality headset doesn’t have to be super fancy, but it should be comfortable with some degree of noise cancellation and clear audio quality.

Most companies will allow you to use earbuds as long as they have a microphone attached, but some teachers prefer to use an over-ear headset because they’re more comfortable during long teaching sessions and are better at blocking out background noise.

The Nulaxy Computer Headset is a popular choice among online English teachers because it is lightweight, comfortable, and easy on the budget.

Related Post: Best Headset For Online Teaching

Best Webcam For Teaching Online

If you’re using a newer laptop, the built-in HD camera should be sufficient for online teaching. I use the built-in webcam on my 2015 Macbook Pro and I’ve never had any issues with it.

But if you don’t like the way your webcam looks or you’re using a device without an HD Camera, you might need a webcam for teaching online.

The Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 has great reviews for online teaching and it’s easy on the budget! Just make sure to read the product description to make sure whatever webcam you get is compatible with your specific computer.

Looking for other popular webcams for teaching online? The Angetube Streaming Webcam is affordable and comes with a built-in ring light for added brightness!

The Online ESL Teacher Toolkit E-book, best activities and games for teaching English online

Best Lighting For Teaching Online

When you have amazing online classroom lighting, your students can see you clearly and the video quality looks better.

If you’re teaching English as a second language, good lighting can help your students see the shapes your mouth makes when you teach new sounds, a critical part of language acquisition. So quality lighting is worth investing in!

In many cases, the overhead room lights and a lamp placed directly behind your computer will work great. I make sure to use a white shade on my lamp so the light doesn’t have a colored tint.

I also use this handy selfie ring light to get extra light in any situation. It has three settings and holds a charge for about four hours, which is great for long teaching sessions!

If your teaching area isn’t well lit, you can also grab one of these awesome lighting kits to get studio-quality lighting anywhere!

Related Post: Best Lighting For Online Teaching

Internet Connection For Online Teaching

A stable internet connection is probably the most important requirement to teach online. To check your internet speeds, you can use or check with your internet service provider.

While it’s usually acceptable to teach on strong WiFi, many teachers prefer to use a wired connection for a more reliable internet connection. A wired connection just means that you’ve connected your computer directly to your router using an ethernet cable.

I have a long ethernet cable that I use to connect my device and I do notice a difference in stability. However, I’ve had no problems teaching with WiFi, assuming the WiFi is quick.

Most companies recommend internet speeds of around 20-25mbps, but it’s possible to successfully teach on less. I’ve had totally smooth classes on around 10mbps but I personally wouldn’t go much lower than that.

Here are some examples of what different companies require:

Laptop Stand

My adjustable laptop stand is one of my favorite gadgets for online teaching! It allows me to place my laptop up at eye level which is better for my posture.

Before, I would stack piles of books (or one time, pizza boxes!) to get my laptop high enough to teach comfortably. But having a laptop stand makes it easy.

Dry Erase Board

A dry-erase board is an online teacher’s best friend! I can’t tell you how many times I reach for my magnetic whiteboard during the school day.

This handy tool can be used with adults and children to illustrate concepts, spell out words, and much more.This Dry Erase Board Set comes with colorful markers too!

teacher holds a monkey toy, flashcards, and printable props for teaching english online in front of a world map
Some of my favorite online ESL teaching props!

Classroom Background and Teaching Area

In addition to having the right technology, should also have a quiet space where you can teach classes without distractions.

Make sure you have a good office chair that is comfortable for long hours and enough desk space to have your teaching materials and lesson plans within reach. If your space has natural light, even better!

Many online teaching companies require some kind of classroom background. This can either be a clean blank wall or a wall with academic decorations on it. Having an open room behind you can be distracting, so finding a wall to teach against is ideal.

I use a colorful world map as my background. It’s simple and works for both adults and children. Because it has lots of colors, my classroom feels fun and bright without feeling busy.

Other common online classroom backgrounds are ABC charts, welcome banners, posters, and kid-friendly artwork. You can also use a green screen background with software like ManyCam for more variety.

Related Post: How To Make A Portable Background For Teaching Online

Discover Fun Props and Rewards for Teaching English Online

Best Online Teaching Tools and Props

Finally, it’s a good idea to have some online teaching tools and props to supplement your lessons. I usually use finger puppets, small stuffed animals, household trinkets, flashcards, and other 2D printed out images.

It’s also a good idea to have a world map and some pictures from your life to spark conversations. Depending on the age of your students, an external reward system could help keep everyone motivated and on track.

If you need props for your classroom, you can grab the ones I use in my Etsy Shop, Teach and Wander!

Related Post: My online English teacher classroom props list

Final Thoughts on Equipment Needed to Teach English Online

With these online teaching essentials, you’ll be on your way to setting up a fun, comfortable, and efficient online classroom.

To recap, here’s a list of the equipment you’ll need to teach online.

  1. A good laptop or desktop computer
  2. A pair of headphones with good sound quality
  3. An HD webcam so students can see you clearly
  4. Ample room lighting, including a selfie ring light
  5. High-speed internet connection
  6. Adjustable laptop stand
  7. Dry-erase board
  8. Teaching space with a classroom background
  9. Online teaching props and activities, especially if teaching young learners

With these helpful teaching tools, you’ll have everything you need to impress your students and keep your classes running smoothly.

Do you have any favorite online teaching equipment you’d recommend for new teachers? Let me know in the comments below!

More Teaching Online Resources:

best equipment for teaching online

About the Author

Hi! I'm Nic. Let's chat about remote work and ways to incorporate more travel into your life. Whether you're here to find an online job or need some tips for planning your next trip, I've got you covered! More about me

3 thoughts on “Best Equipment For Teaching Online: 9 Amazing Essentials!”

  1. Thank you for your Blog, I’m considering signing up with VipKid, but just read all the new China laws being forced on foreign teachers. How has this affected your teaching and salary?

    • Hi Thomas! Thanks so much! Yep, I’ve tried teaching standing up before and it’s fun! I can do it for a few classes but during long teaching days, I like to do a combo of sitting and standing.


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