The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we can do almost anything online – from weddings to talk shows – we now have the technology to accomplish a great deal from the comfort of our own homes.
This is also true for online learning. Many students’ education was disrupted in the middle of the school year, but through ingenuity and resourcefulness, their teachers and professors were able to bring the classroom to them. It’s the safest and most effective approach for students to continue their education during these difficult times.
Furthermore, it is critical to have the appropriate tools in place to ensure that students and teachers are always connected and have the required learning materials at their fingertips at all times.
While schools have reopened in many parts of the world, others continue with distance learning as they prepare for another wave of COVID-19. Politicians, educators, and parents are debating how to keep classes going while the pandemic unfolds and how to incorporate aspects of remote education into existing curricula.
Even after schools reopen, it seems that hybrid and distance learning is here to stay. Some students actually prefer to learn from home. But no matter how experienced you are with remote learning, you can always benefit from additional software tools. That’s why we’ve compiled the list with the best ones for 2021.
COVID-19 has made Zoom the go-to video conferencing platform for businesses, educators, and families. It’s easy to set up and allows up to 100 people to join a meeting. You can make multiple breakout rooms, share screens, and use group chat for clarifications during a lesson.
You can also record your calls which is useful for students because they can review the material but also for the teachers because it allows them to self-evaluate and improve their online lessons.
Free accounts on Zoom are usually limited to 40-minute sessions, but many schools provide their students with accounts since K-12 schools affected by COVID-19 get free unlimited minutes and meetings until the end of 2021.
Google Classroom is becoming more prevalent in schools, as it provides an excellent platform for teachers to communicate with students online.
It can be used both for direct teaching as well as for notes and additional materials for students who are unable to attend class.
Google Classroom works in tandem with Google’s standard office tools like Google Docs and Google Drive. You also get additional administrative tools to make managing classes easier for educators.
There’s a free version, as well as an Education version that comes with extended features like a larger streaming capacity for online meetings.
Evernote has long been recognized as a great tool for students. You can use it to keep track of your assignments, take notes and share them.
Even with the transition to distance learning, students still rely on notes. With Evernote, you can easily organize them, and it supports multiple formats like text, audio, video, and sketches.
To make finding the notes you need even easier, you can combine Evernote with an online editor like PDFChef that lets you split, merge, or edit your notes based on different subjects and assignments.
WizIQ is intended more for teachers than students and provides a learning management system and virtual classroom. Using WizIQ, you can create interactive courses and offer them either as live sessions or self-paced study materials. The WizIQ app for iOS and Android allows you to take all of your lessons on the go, which is really convenient.
For those interested in selling courses, the study materials you create with WizIQ can be readily converted to MOOCs to boost enrollment with students from all over the world.
Articulate was specifically designed to accommodate mobile devices. Without having to change anything, the platform allows you to develop highly interactive and engaging courses for any device. All you have to do is click publish, and the platform takes care of the rest with its Storyline and Rise features.
Furthermore, all courses are compatible with touchscreen gestures, and the built-in player eliminates sidebar menus and other distractions so that the multimedia content takes center stage.
The best part is that you don’t need to be especially tech-savvy to create courses since you can simply use the themes in the library.
You also get a text and image editor so you can double-check everything before publishing a course. All your work is saved on the cloud, and there’s a review system that supports a variety of languages like German, French, Spanish, and Chinese if you want to get feedback from educational experts.
Floop was created to address the issue of providing students with individualized guidance and support in the context of distance learning. Students can use it to upload photographs of their work with embedded comments to show where they got stuck and ask questions. To provide targeted feedback, teachers only need to respond to the comment.
Making distance learning work requires feedback. SmartSurvey is an online survey platform that allows educators to get feedback from their students to make sure that the concepts they’re teaching were well-explained and identify areas for improvement.
Edmondo is essentially a social platform designed to centralize tutor-student and tutor-parent communications. You get the same post and direct messaging features we’re familiar with from other social platforms.
Teachers can use these features to post classroom updates, share assignments and chat directly with students and parents.
This tool is also great for students that don’t have a reliable internet connection since it provides asynchronous teaching.
Moving education to the virtual realm requires quite a bit of adjusting, which can get overwhelming. Timely can help with that by providing teachers and students with a digital timeline. Its user-friendly calendar interface allows you to schedule your day and track how much time you spend on various assignments.
It also helps teachers coordinate groups of students and gives everyone proactive support so they can stick to their schedules.