Effective ways to teach STEM subjects online

If you have never taught mathematics or any of the natural sciences online, then you would be forgiven for thinking that it is pretty much like teaching any other subject. But alas, it is not! Teaching mathematics online, for example, I would venture to say, is arguably one of the more difficult and challenging to teach effectively. In this blog article, I would like to give you a few pointers and tips as to which are the best tools and practices, given all the experience I have after accumulating several thousand hours of teaching mathematics, physics and chemistry online over the last 15 years.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you have a great virtual classroom, such as that of Infiniti, which allows you to seamlessly upload and invoke different materials at the relevant times according to the context. You may be doing a one-on-one lesson, or you may be doing a group lesson; you may be teaching theory, and therefore need to do a lot of writing and drawing; or you may need to prompt your students to interact on the whiteboard. So, the most important thing is to have all your teaching materials ready before you enter the virtual classroom – you can upload all the appropriate files before you or your students enter the Infiniti classroom. This is akin to a teacher entering a physical classroom with a bundle of books, notes and maybe tests under his arm, always ready to improvise and move with the flow of the class.

No matter what anyone says there is no substitute for handwriting when it comes to teaching. It has also been scientifically proveni that students remember facts and notes when they are handwritten rather than just served up in print version. And that goes for students physically writing up their notes and similarly for teachers writing their notes in real time, just as they would on a blackboard in a traditional school classroom. And here comes the first challenge: how does one confidently handwrite in a virtual classroom



A decent visualiser is an absolute godsend for teaching STEM. Like a cobra’s head, the camera sits over the paper and you can write as you normally do on the paper and with the camera feed the student can see what you are writing, simultaneously with another cam on your face. Highly recommended is the IPEVO visualiser https://www.ipevo.com/products/v4k which I have been using for years. The other great thing with these visualisers is that you can screenshot the notes you have written during the lesson and save them in the LIBRARY section of your students’ LMS – so handy!

If you cannot manage to get hold of an IPEVO then second best is OKIOLABS https://www.okiolabs.com/okiocam/ or there is a great work around (the most economical) with the camera on your mobile phone which can be mounted on a stand such as this https://www.amazon.com/Ajustable-Cellphone-Streaming-Sketching-Recording/dp/B0863L2QSZ?&currencyCode=EUR

Graphics tablets

If you do not have a visualiser then you can use a graphics tablet which is compatible with the Infiniti virtual classroom whiteboard. Now graphics tablets can get very, very expensive – these are for those professional graphic designers and not necessary for the more mundane demands of writing up chemical structures or mathematical equations. So no need to shell out a small fortune for a graphics tablet. I have tried a vast array of graphics tablets and have found that the most effective (and very affordable) is the Wacom ONE graphics tablet that comes with its own stylus. It does take a little getting used to as it is not the same as writing on paper but after not too much practice it is highly effective. If you are looking for the cheap and cheerful then look no further than the HUION which can be had for around 20 euros but then the quality, responsiveness are not as good as that of the Wacom ONE. There are some very fancy offerings out there, but the prices can become eye-wateringly high. Frequent and significant advancements are being made to the extent that if your pockets are deep enough then a Remarkable tablet will render the same experience as writing on paper (no joking!), or for that matter a high-end iPad with accompanying stylus.


Whatever you write/annotate on the Infiniti virtual classroom whiteboard can be downloaded by the students directly onto the hard drives or directed to their libraries in their LMs, all consistent with our AIOP (all-in-one-place) philosophy. The student fully concentrates during the lesson, knowing that all the notes are being conveniently filed ready for reviewing after the lessons.

I personally have both a visualiser and a graphics tablet which I regularly toggle between to deliver the very most effective and engaging lessons.

Again, if your budget permits, then I would highly recommend having two monitors, one as large as possible and the second a typical 13” laptop – this allows you (the teacher) to more easily monitor and control the view that the student sees.

There are no set formulas as to the best possible use of either visualisers or graphics tablets but with practice and experience you will find that with these marvellous tools the humdrum, ordinary mathematics lesson can become extremely efficacious, enjoyable and interactive for the students, who can be encouraged to have their own graphics tablets and/or visualisers so that they can interact.

I have personally taught numerous students Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry for A levels, IGCSEs, SATs, APs, etc. exclusively online and many of these students have gone onto some of the highest ranking universities in the world. Fellow teachers, the proof is in the pudding: the requisite tools are there to be had and they work very well. With a little patience, practice and experimenting you will find what works best for you. Happy online teaching and if you would like any more specific tips then please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Infiniti. Remember: only a bad workman blames his tools!


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