You offer your students a classroom environment that promotes learning, while ProTeach videos provide them with excellent instruction from Abeka Academy master teachers. To get the most benefit from using ProTeach, keep the following keys in mind.

Adequate Staffing

Woman smiling with bookshelves behind her

You’ll need on-site teachers who are experienced in traditional classroom instruction. However, the number of teachers and helpers you’ll need will vary with the size of your school.

Check your state’s requirements for student/teacher ratios. Plan for at least one teacher and one helper for every 20–25 students enrolled.

Early in the school year, a helper will need to spend mornings with the kindergarten students, teaching them the basic habits of paying attention, listening, and following directions. Later, less time will be required as the children learn to follow the video teacher.

So where do you find your helpers?

  1. Utilize those outside your classroom.
    Your helper doesn’t have to be a paid, full-time employee. Given proper guidance by an on-site teacher, a mother of one of the students or someone from your church can make an excellent helper.
  2. Consider responsible students.
    Under the supervision of an on-site teacher, a responsible student can monitor the video progress in each class, as well as distribute and collect homework, seatwork, and test papers.
  3. Plan for your teachers’ education.
    Your teachers may not be teaching the lessons, but they’ll still need to be trained in areas like classroom management, discipline, and communicating with parents. The annual Summer Seminar at Pensacola Christian College provides a valuable source of training in these important areas and others, plus a session on how to set up and operate a video classroom.

Proper Classroom Atmosphere

Students looking up from their desks smiling

The most successful school programs do a couple of important things right from the beginning. First, they set out to establish a traditional classroom atmosphere that’s conducive to learning. Second, they require student participation and accountability.

Do these two things so your classrooms will be ready for efficient operation and control. That way, learning can take place in an orderly manner.

  1. Pay attention to the video teacher.
    The video teacher should be considered—by both your students and your school staff—as actually present in your classroom, in person, teaching the class.
  2. Determine best placement of desks.
    Arrange student desks for maximum attention to the teacher and minimum distraction from other students. You may find that traditional rows work best, or, if you have a small enough number of students, you may arrange desks in a semi-circle around the screen. Your decision will also depend on the video format you choose, which is part of the next key to consider.

Right Classroom Equipment

Teacher calling on student during video lesson

“The right tool for the job” is an expression that holds true with regard to how you equip your classroom for maximum learning. The following is a list of areas to address:

  1. Format: DVD or Streaming
  2. Sound Control
  3. A Teacher Lectern for Each Class
  4. Student Desks
  5. If you choose the DVD format, we recommend at least a 32” monitor.

For the streaming format, here’s what we recommend:

  1. Viewing screen or projector video input compatible with your PC or device (Individual-student streaming requires a computer for each student.)
  2. High-speed Internet access
  3. The number of classes that can be streaming at the same time depends on your Internet download speed. 1 Mbps of download speed is recommended per class when viewing lessons simultaneously; please refer to the chart below. Please note that the download speed is determined by your Internet service provider (not Abeka).
  4. Test your download speed here.
Download Speed Number of Screens
1 2 3 4 5 6
6.0+ Mbsp
3.0+ Mbsp
1.5+ Mbsp
768 Kbps
Bandwidth okay for this number of screens
Should work but will not provide optimal viewing experience
Not recommended; playback may be low quality and/or choppy

If your school is in one large room divided into several individual class areas, dividers should be made of a sound-absorbing acoustical material. (Carpeted plywood dividers provide a practical solution.) Carpeting on the floor also helps to absorb sound.

Individual student headphones (optional) are successful in eliminating most outside sound and keeping the student’s attention on the teacher. A TV with an earphone or headphone jack can accommodate a 4-, 6-, or 8-headphone volume control jack box that allows the student to select a comfortable listening level.

If the TV does not have an earphone or headphone jack, a headphone amplifier unit will need to be connected to the audio output of the video player. These amplifier units typically have 4 or 6 built-in headphone jacks, so a headphone jack box would not be necessary unless additional headphones need to be connected to a single TV for a larger class.

If a student is using stereo headphones with a mono headphone jack box or headphone amplifier unit, they will hear audio in only one ear. This can be corrected using a ¼” mono-to-stereo adaptor. Additionally, an adaptor would be needed if the students’ headphones come with a mini-plug connector.

Classroom furniture should include a lectern for the teacher, which not only helps to reinforce the classroom atmosphere, but also serves as a spot to place manuals for easy reference.

Finally, it’s important that students have an appropriate workspace that further helps them feel like they’re in a classroom.

Follow these guidelines, and your video school will be well on its way to providing an exceptional education for your students.