In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been forced to adopt a remote teaching model, but with almost no preparation or lead time. This has left teachers struggling to find resources that are convenient for themselves and their students.
If you’re new to online teaching or simply looking to improve the engagement of your virtual classes, read on. We’ve compiled a list of must-have tools to teach online, their options, and explain the feasibility they provide to help make remote learning effective.
1. Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a free web service designed by Google specifically for schools. It helps teachers create, distribute, and grade assignments quickly and communicate with their students with ease.
Classroom integrates Google Docs, Drive, Gmail, and Calendar into a holistic platform. Each class can be separated into its own folder in the user’s drive where the student can submit work to be checked by a teacher. Teachers can add assignments and due dates to Calendar and keep track of each student’s process by checking the revision history of a document and, after assessing, return it along with comments. Google Classroom also makes it easy for educators to email learners (both the entire class or one student in particular) and post announcements to the class’ Stream.
Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing tool that can be used for both one-on-one training sessions and group-based learning. Teachers and students can connect in real-time in secure password-protected virtual rooms. All online meetings can be recorded and uploaded to the cloud, so learners who missed the class can watch them later.
Zoom not only delivers HD video and audio, but also provides many innovative options that allow for high interactivity and engagement during the meetings. For example, participants can exchange messages and files in a chat or share their screens and annotate them using the whiteboard feature.
3. Blackboard Learn
Blackboard Learn is a learning management system (LMS) suitable for K-12 schools and universities. It allows teachers to get full control over the students’ learning process.
Instructors can create eLearning courses by adding ready-made learning modules (SCORM courses, for example), documents, links, discussions, and tests, and assign them to students. They can then track progress and completion on both individual activities and an entire course, check assignments, and post grades for students to view.
Blackboard Learn’s features also include an in-system calendar for scheduling training sessions and posting due dates for tests, announcements that teachers can post for learners to read, chats, and discussions between students and educators.
4. iSpring Suite
iSpring Suite is an easy-to-use yet powerful authoring toolkit. Like other authoring tools it is designed to create engaging eLearning courses that can be uploaded to an LMS and shared on the Web.
iSpring Suite makes it easy to create different types of content for various training tasks. It includes a tool for building slide-based courses, a video and audio editor for creating video lectures and screencasts, a quiz maker for assessments, and a dialog simulation tool for building conversation sims with branching. It also allows for creating interactive microlearning modules with a complete set of ready-made templates for creating glossaries, catalogs, timelines, references, and FAQs.
If you have experience working with PowerPoint slides, with iSpring, you can convert them to full-fledged online courses in a few clicks. You can also turn your Word and PDF documents into interactive HTML5 books to provide your students with an enjoyable reading experience on mobile devices.
5. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is an educational website popular among teachers and parents. It offers video-based courses and personalized learning dashboards for students to learn at their own pace outside the classroom environment. There are online classes for different ages, from kindergarten to high school and beyond. They tackle history, science, economics, computer programming, and many other areas. Khan Academy also partners with institutions such as NASA, The California Academy of Sciences, The Museum of Modern Art, and MIT to deliver specialized content.
The video-based courses provided include practice tasks like questions and quizzes, as well as guided placement to help learners find a course they need. Teachers can choose classes for their students from the course catalog and then create classrooms where they invite learners to take a course. Grading is automatic.
Edmodo is an online platform for K-12 schools and teachers that consolidates all classroom tools and ties together various duties that educators need to comply with. Sending messages, sharing learning materials, grading assignments, and even conducting quizzes are possible on a single platform.
Parents can also access Edmodo. After they log in to the system, they can see their children’s classroom activity and grades, look through classroom updates, and send teachers direct messages.
There’s also a great teachers’ community that is created with Edmodo. Educators share their lessons and other learning materials within the platform using hashtags so their peers can find and leverage the resources for their students.
Wakelet is a curation tool that can be used in the classroom for saving, organizing, and sharing educational content from all over the Web. This can be articles, videos, podcasts, social media posts, links, and more. Users can build engaging and meaningful collections from curated files and add context by adding their own notes and media.
Wakelet is also a great tool for creating research projects and making them interactive and social. Students can do their projects and share them with their teachers and peers.
Educators can use Wakelet as a file sharing and collaboration tool. They can post their lesson plans and assignments and invite other teachers and students to contribute to their collections.
To Sum Up
There are tons more tools for remote teaching that can keep your students engaged throughout their learning, but it would be impossible to list them all. This was a brief overview of the key solutions that we’re confident will prove helpful.
We hope you found this beneficial.
About the Author: Helen Colman
Helen Colman is an editor and content strategist at iSpring. She enjoys combining in-depth research with expert knowledge of the eLearning industry.