Teaching and sharing ideas from home is gradually moving from a luxury or mere past-time to something necessary, especially in view of recent global events. Teachers need online tools to effectively communicate with their students, particularly in distant learning situations.
If you are a teacher who is looking for tools online that can ease remote learning for your students and level up your online teaching experience, then you’ll find the following websites and applications useful.
These apps are great for screen recording, video conferencing, organizing information, as well as sharing information with students, parents, and even teams. The best part is that while there are paid versions of these tools, most of the listed websites offer free options too! Plus, you can download the apps to your desktop and also use them on your mobile devices.
Now, let’s check out the 9 best websites for teaching online from home.
1. Google Meet
Google Meet is a video conferencing tool that works well for tutoring, webinars, virtual classes, parent-teacher conferences, and so much more. The app was originally included in Google’s G Suite, meaning it is available only to those in the Google community. However, as of May 2020, it is a free tool for anyone on the web and can be accessed at meet.google.com.
Using Google Meet is pretty straightforward. Just start the app on your mobile device or visit the site and enter a meeting code to join an ongoing meeting. If you are hosting the meeting, you don’t have to worry about participants having the correct plug-ins or accounts. All you need to do is to create and share your meeting code with participants.
They can join by simply clicking the link, and they’ll be added to the meeting. You can also manage all participants, see details of the conference, and turn on/off audio and camera.
Source: Google Meet
It is important to note that because Google is currently adding lots of updates to the app, expanding its reach, and making it free for all, users might not be able to schedule meetings at meet.google.com. This is only temporary, and if you sign up now, you’ll be notified when the service becomes available.
2. Microsoft Teams
Source: Microsoft Teams
If you are part of the Microsoft community, you can access Microsoft Teams to schedule meetings, record meetings, share your screen, make group video and audio calls, as well as, one-on-one calls. You can download Teams to your computer, use the program from your web browser, or access it as a mobile app.
To use Microsoft Teams as a tool for teaching online, you will first have to create a team and then invite participants to join. You can add up to 2,500 members to your team! If you add new students to your team, they can easily scroll back to see previous conversations and come up to speed. Apart from the video conferencing feature, you can share files, PowerPoint presentations, and also chat with individuals and groups.
Zoom is another great conferencing tool that can help teachers to communicate with students seamlessly. Besides being a very popular group discussion app, it allows you to accomplish a lot for free. You can automatically schedule meetings by linking your calendar to Zoom.
The app also allows you to set up a meeting just once and make it into a recurrent meeting without having to change any settings or sending out new URLs each time. Also, if you want another teacher to join in on Zoom calls, you can set up the meeting to co-host calls and have your students pull knowledge from more than one teacher at a time.
Zoom has all the essential conferencing features, and that makes it a great tool for teaching students online. You can invite participants using email or links, manage participants, share screen, chat, create breakout rooms, mute and un-mute any or all participants, and so much more.
Recently, Zoom removed the 40-minute time limit for free accounts for K-12 educators. That’s good news if you fall into that category because you can now hold meetings for longer than 40 minutes for free.
4. Google Classroom
If you’re looking for effective digital collaboration between teachers and students with the added benefit of paperless-sharing, then Google Classroom is your go-to online tool. This is, perhaps, the most flexible digital organizer for assignments and class materials any teacher will find online. It is free for anyone with a Google account.
Source: Google Classroom
With Google Classroom, it’s easy to post assignments, and students can see the due date because it is automatically added to Google Calendar. Teachers can also post announcements, reminders, chat privately with individual students, give feedback, respond to questions, and generally offer teacher-student support. Teachers can also use the platform to communicate with parents and guardians.
Flipgrid is one of the excellent teacher tools online that is particularly designed to elicit feedback from students. Instead of impromptu responses, students can take their time to plan their response to a topic or question posed by teachers. Also, students can listen to the views and responses of their peers to broaden their horizons.
As a teacher, all you have to do is sign up for a free account on Flipgrid and start creating topics (called grids) to facilitate discussions with students. You can record yourself asking a question and share it with your students. You can post a prerecorded question or record your screen and post it as a topic.
In turn, students can respond to your topic either from their camera-enabled mobile devices or via the web. You can set the maximum recording time for responses as well as set other moderation and privacy options.
Screencastify is an extension that works with the Google Chrome browser. Once installed, you can use it to record your webcam, a browser tab, or your desktop (perhaps a PowerPoint presentation or something on your screen). The free version allows you to record for only 5 minutes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have several 5-minute videos that you can piece together afterward. But to access all the great features of Screencasifty, consider upgrading to the paid version.
Some of the features that make Screencastify one of the best teacher tools online include adding annotations, highlighting the screen position of the mouse pointer to draw attention, highlighting clicks, and so much more.
With Screencastify, you can still do a quick recording for your students, even if you don’t have an internet connection. However, you’ll have very few features available without an internet connection.
Loom is a tool that helps you share your video recordings quickly. It is one of the free teacher tools online for both educators and students. To use the tool, download it to your computer or access it from a Chrome browser. You can record your entire screen or your webcam only. Once you have finished recording, Loom automatically creates a link for the video. Simply copy and share the link with your students. You’ll also see if people watched the video.
Loom has easy features that anyone can use, and the app is quite simple to navigate. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use Loom.
8. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark gives both teachers and students a way to create and share great content ranging from web pages, social media posts, presentations, slide shows, videos, and so on.
To help you create rich content, Adobe Spark comes with loads of outstanding templates from which you can choose. Templates help teachers and students to create content without leaving out any important detail. Adobe Spark also makes it easy to add music and voice recordings to your content before sharing.
YouTube is probably one of the most popular video sharing websites available, and it is free. Here’s a small statistic to give you an idea of the number of visitors to the site. Every single month, people watch up to about six billion hours of video on YouTube.
That’s huge! But what many teachers probably don’t realize is that they can leverage that massive traffic and deliver amazing content to their students. After all, almost every student is consuming YouTube content already, so why not seize the opportunity and place your videos where they love to visit?
Most videos on YouTube are user-generated content; meaning, they are created mostly by individuals instead of movie studios and TV networks. If you can record yourself teaching, then you can upload your content to YouTube and share your video with the public or a specific audience, in this case, your students. All it takes is to sign up for YouTube, add a channel, and upload your videos.
Since people can access YouTube on the go – using mobile devices – it makes it one of the most valuable teaching tools you can find online.
There you have it – the 9 best teacher tools online. Go ahead and take advantage of the free versions and, if you like what they offer, you can upgrade to the paid versions where applicable.