When you decide to take the leap into becoming an online teacher, you will need to consider several things. You might be thinking: "Which platform do I choose? Do I need to know how to code? Which LMS should I use?"
The success of this model depends on educators' ability to adapt to technology and choose the right tools for their students. A quick Google search reveals EdTech to be an incredibly crowded space.
What's the best online teaching software for a beginner who's about to start teaching as an online tutor? To help you answer these questions, I have created an extensive list of the best online teaching tools for teachers just starting.
To build your virtual teaching toolkit, you must consider your student base and the teaching team, your particular role and domain, and any additional learning needs. Budget will also factor in—larger institutions may be able to pay for enterprise learning management systems.
Also, not all your students have access to the same internet bandwidth, devices or learning environment. To ensure you get the most out of your collaboration, look for ways to learn and collaborate outside of real-time video calls.
Finally, remember that your virtual teaching toolkit should help you craft a great online lesson and support you in everything that happens outside of it. Planning and coordinating can be difficult in a hybrid or remote setting. Use tools that structure your day so you'll always know where you stand.
What to look for in online teaching software for teachers and students?
Choosing the right online teaching software for your school or classroom is essential.
If you're still using pen and paper to keep track of student grades and assignments, it's time to consider switching to a more efficient system.
Here are some things to look for when choosing an online learning management system:
1. Mobile-friendly design: If you have students who use phones or tablets in class, make sure the LMS is mobile-friendly so they can access it easily.
2. Flexible scheduling: You want an LMS that allows you to assign different types of assignments and tests on different days and times, so students can work at their own pace.
3. Automated grading: Some LMSs allow teachers to upload assignments and then grade them automatically as they come in instead of having to manually mark each student's work as they submit it. Not only does this save time, but it also makes it easier for teachers who simultaneously grade large numbers of assignments.
4. Social media integration: Many LMSs now allow teachers to post announcements about class activities or assignments directly to their social media accounts, which can be helpful if your students primarily use these networks rather than email.
Essential online teaching software
Teaching tools are available to help you use a variety of teaching styles, from individualized lessons to group projects. Here, we've grouped some of the most common and helpful teaching tools and resources. They cover everything from scheduling, communication and video conferencing to managing your work hours, sharing files and saving documents.
These 20 tools can be classified into 7 categories as follows:
- Synchronous Virtual Classroom
- Asynchronous support and communication
- Learning Management System (LMS)
- Support and Communication
- Virtual collaboration and teaching aids
- Content Authoring
- Teacher Productivity
🍎 Synchronous virtual classrooms
1. EdisonOS - A high-end learning management system(LMS)
EdisonOS is a modern learning management system (LMS). It is a platform for delivering courses, building communities and selling products.
EdisonOS helps you design online courses, conduct live classes, sell mentorships and much more. You can build mock tests for students to practice their concepts before taking the actual exam. The platform also allows you to manage communities of learners and automate business operations.
An EdisonOS virtual classroom Features:
- Designing Online Courses
- Conduct Live Classes
- Sell Mentorships
- Build Mock Tests
- Manage Communities
- Launch Learning Apps
2. Teachable - an online teaching software for a virtual classroom
Teachable is an online teaching software that makes it easy to create engaging online courses. It's used by educators around the world to help them share their knowledge. Teachable lets users adjust and track course content, customize interaction methods, and edit teaching styles. Teachable allows any teacher to set up an online course simply by filling in a few fields on the company's website. The software allows teachers to create a course site, manage student accounts, record videos and upload documents on the site. Teachers can embed videos from source sites like YouTube or Vimeo, attach Dropbox links for students to download files, or create downloadable PDFs.
Price: The basic plan starts at $29, and you can upgrade as per requirements.
3. Thinkific - A Course Hosting Platform
Thinkific is an online teaching software that is used to conduct a virtual classroom. It has features that let instructors teach their students in an effective way. Instructors can create their own courses, discuss them with their students, and answer their questions. Students can view the course content and lessons in a very organized fashion with videos or PDFs. Students will also be able to ask questions to the instructors, and the instructor can answer those questions. I find this software very helpful for teachers trying to teach students from different parts of the world.
Price: You can take a test drive for Free. Thinkific's basic plan begins at $39/month.
4. Zoom – for synchronous video lessons
Zoom is the best way to meet, chat and collaborate with people from anywhere in the world. Zoom's cloud-based platform is built for accessible video meetings, online classes and group presentations. Zoom has been around since 2013 and has been used by over 300 million people worldwide. Zoom to video calls your family, friends or anyone with an internet connection. You can also join a webinar that is being hosted by someone else (it's pretty easy to find these).
Virtual classrooms and department meetings. Virtual classrooms allow you to host large meetings with up to 100 participants simultaneously. Zoom makes it easy for everyone in your virtual classroom to share their screen so everyone can see what’s happening at once. You can also use Zoom’s breakout rooms feature to break into groups during lessons or meetings.
Price: It's free for 40-minute calls. Upgrade as per organizational needs.
5. Google Meet – for connecting in a digital learning hub
Google Meet is a new video conferencing and collaboration app from Google. It's designed to work with your Google G Suite account, so you can call in participants from anywhere in the world who also have access to the same account.
Google Meet is available for free on Android, iOS and desktop platforms. To use it, you'll need to create a room in advance — this can be something as simple as a shared screen or as complex as an interactive presentation with multiple presenters and attendees. Once you've created a room, you can invite participants by email or link them directly through their Google Calendar accounts.
Once everyone has joined the call, there are plenty of ways to interact with each other — such as drawing on shared documents or having video chats with individual participants. The software also includes built-in tools for making annotations on shared documents and adding reminders or notifications throughout the meeting.
Price: Free for 60-minute group calls. Upgrade for longer call durations.
6. Microsoft Teams – for a connected digital learning hub
Microsoft Teams is not precisely an LMS, but it offers a suite of virtual teaching tools similar to Google Classroom. All of this is free and allows conversations, content and collaboration to happen in one unified digital space. Teams is the chat-based workspace in Office 365 that brings together people, conversations and content—including existing tools like Office 365, LinkedIn and Twitter—so teams can easily collaborate and get more done.
Teams is built on an open platform that integrates with many popular business applications such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Concur and more. Teams work across platforms — from the web to mobile apps — so everyone can participate from anywhere at any time.
Teams include features such as rich media sharing, video conferencing and co-authoring so you can easily create content together in real-time no matter where you are or what device you're using (desktop or mobile). Teams are ideal for virtual classrooms to share assignments, get feedback on those assignments, and communicate with your colleagues and staff.
Price: It's free for all students and teachers with a valid school email address.
7. Blackboard – for top-of-the-range higher education LMS
Time to get serious—check out Blackboard if you're looking for a purpose-built higher education LMS with a modern and intuitive feel.
It helps build fluid, user-friendly digital learning environments with many specialist solutions thrown in.
Blackboard's range of products includes Blackboard Analytics for Learn, which helps you identify barriers to student success, and two products aimed at helping students stay on track: Blackboard Predict and Blackboard Intelligence.
Price: Blackboard's pricing scheme is aimed at institutions rather than individuals, who will pay a hefty license fee.
🙌 Asynchronous support and communication
8. Slack – for peer and organisational communication
Slack is a team communication platform that has been around for a few years. It is one of the most popular tools for internal communication, especially among startups and small businesses.
Slack is used by over 7 million people every day to communicate with their teams. It has become an integral part of our work lives and has replaced email, instant messaging and other forms of communication for many organizations.
Here are some reasons why Slack is so popular:
- It allows you to create private or public channels where you can discuss topics with your colleagues
- You can share files, images and videos with your team members in real-time
- You can send direct messages to people on your team
- Many apps are available that integrate with Slack – including Trello and Dropbox!
Price: Slack's lowest plan costs $7 per month per person.
9. Discord - For student-teacher communications
A great way to stay in touch with your students is through a messaging app like Discord.
Discord is a free voice and text chat app designed for gamers, but it can also be used for other purposes, like in a virtual classroom. It allows you to create a private chatroom where only invited members can enter, or you can create a public server that anyone can join.
You can also set up multiple channels(or various virtual classrooms) within the same server, so if you have separate groups of students who need to communicate with each other (e.g., athletes and non-athletes), they can do so without cluttering up your main channel.
It’s essential to ensure that your students know how important it is to use appropriate language on these platforms so that everyone feels comfortable interacting with one another.
Price: Completely Free!
10. Floop – for work questions and support
For students, Floop is like raising your hand in class. It was built by teachers to help you get tailored support and feedback from your teachers when you're learning remotely.
Just send pictures of your work with anchored comments, so you can highlight precisely where you're stuck and raise questions. Your teacher just needs to reply to the comment to provide targeted feedback.
When you're working with analogue or read-only digital materials, it can be helpful to request targeted feedback from your teacher. For example, they may be able to answer specific questions or clarify essential concepts.
Price: The basic features are free for now, but you can upgrade to advanced features.
11. Tally.so– for feedback on remote teaching
Tally.so is one of the simplest ways to create forms that allow you to request feedback from your students. It's an excellent tool for teachers who want to improve their teaching skills or have a way to receive feedback from their students. It also can be used as an alternative to peer marking, giving teachers access to real-time feedback from their peers.
Tally.so is a free service that is useful as an asynchronous teaching tool for students who may not always have access to a home computer or a strong Wi-Fi connection. You can post your questions and receive responses from your students. You can also view other teachers' questions and answers if you would like some inspiration for your own lesson plans.
You can create a new question by choosing an existing template or creating one yourself as an image, video or text question. When your students respond, they will be given the option to upload photos and videos. You don't need to worry about where it will live once uploaded into the system!
12. Edmondo – for centralized teacher-student communication
Edmondo is a social platform for classrooms with familiar posts and direct messaging functionality. Edmondo is primarily targeted at school teachers. It helps you centralize all tutor-student and tutor-parent communications. You can use it to share classroom materials and assignments, help students learn new virtual tools, post classroom updates or communicate directly with individuals in the class—a valuable teaching tool for students without computers of their own or a strong enough Wi-Fi connection.
Price: Free with a paid “Schools” plan for larger organizations.
13. Notion – An All-In-One Workspace
Notion is the workspace of the future. It's a place where you can take notes, manage tasks, collaborate with others, and organize information — all in one place.
You can also use Notion to create websites, blog posts, presentations, and reports. It's easy to share your work with others and get feedback on it.
Notion is not just another text editor or document management tool. It's an entirely new way for teams to work together on projects without relying on email or other tools that are often too cumbersome for large groups of people.
Why do we think Notion is so unique? Because it combines the best aspects of modern collaboration tools like Slack with more traditional project management software like Trello or Asana. We think Notion is the only tool you'll ever need for casual collaboration and complex projects involving many people.
Price: Try for free, with the option to upgrade with $8 for a team.
14. Pocket - for curating all helpful web resources
For a neater web experience, ditch your bookmarks bar for this handy app, which lets you save articles, videos and more to one clean repository. This tool lets you save articles you find interesting and also lets you create shared resource lists for colleagues and students.
One of the best ways to save articles for later reading. Pocket makes it easy to save web pages for offline reading and curates your feed based on your interests. It's also handy for quickly saving articles you want to read but don't have time for.
Pocket is available as a browser extension that works with Safari and Chrome. You can install it here.
Once installed, you'll see an orange button next to each article on any website. Click this button, and the article will be saved in Pocket automatically.
If you want to save an article without opening your browser extension first, just click the Pocket icon in your browser's toolbar and click "Save page."
Pocket also lets you save entire websites, so they're accessible offline or when you're offline. To do this, just go to your list of unread items and click "Save this site."
Price: It's free to use, with a Premium option to upgrade for $5/month..
15. Loom – for making quick demos or training videos
Loom is an excellent tool for creating quick demos and training videos. It’s easy to use and has many features like background music and sounds, text animation, transitions and more. You can also add your own images or videos and even record your voice while making the video.
Many teachers are using it to make short videos for their students to learn some concepts or concepts that they need extra practice on in class.
Price: The primary version is entirely free. You can upgrade for $5/month for advanced recording and editing features.
16. Pitch.com – for professional digital presentations
Pitch.com is a tool for professional digital presentations. You can use it to create quick, simple presentations with your own content and images.
Pitch is online presentation software that lets you create slideshows from scratch or import existing presentations, then add text, photos, videos and other media. You can also collaborate with colleagues on projects, share presentations publicly or privately, and schedule events.
Price: The starter version is entirely free, and you can upgrade to the Pro version for just $8.
17. Dropbox Paper – for document collaboration
If you need a remote-friendly word processor, Dropbox Paper is the way to go. You can create, share, and edit documents with others in real-time. It's an excellent option for student assessment, allowing you to add comments to different parts of the document. You don't need a Dropbox subscription to use it either, and it's completely free. Its Slack integration is a nice bonus if you're looking for an easy way to keep your communications neatly tied together.
Price: It's completely free.
18. WeTransfer – for sharing large files
WeTransfer is a cloud-based file transfer service. You can use it to send and receive large files without worrying about email attachments or FTP servers. This tool is perfect for sending large files to clients, partners, friends or family. WeTransfer is an excellent alternative if you're looking for a way to send large files without using Dropbox or Google Drive, which limits the size of individual uploads. WeTransfer supports all file types and sizes, so you can send and receive anything from any device or app. You can even upload directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook, Instagram and more.
Price: The web-based service is free for transfers of up to 2GB and $12 per month for 20GB transfers, and you get 1 TB of storage.
19. Idroo – for virtual whiteboards and live annotation
Virtual whiteboards are excellent for using equations or diagrams in your lessons. They also make all types of video conferencing more accessible and dynamic. In addition to using plain boards, you can paste PowerPoint presentations, PDFs and Word documents onto your Idroo whiteboard for online teaching. All you need is a web account to get started.
Idroo is a paid tool that lets teachers create interactive whiteboards in their browser, so students can attend any lesson from anywhere in the world. It’s easy for students and teachers alike: once you’ve entered your name, email address and password into the app, it will generate an access code that anyone can use to connect with you.
Once connected, participants can draw on the board itself in real-time or type notes while watching video tutorials.
Price: Get 5 plain boards and 50MB of storage for free. Upgrade for $10/month if you need document annotation.
Alternatives: Miro, https://whiteboard.fi/
20. Markup Hero – for quick image annotation
While mainly aimed at creative industries, Markup Hero is useful for taking screenshots and annotating images. You can easily share links to your images and save annotations for future editing. Being completely free, it's an ideal choice for providing feedback on assignments, presentations or offline documents during online classes.
Markup Hero is a free, cross-platform, open-source tool that allows you to annotate images quickly. It's aimed at creative industries such as media, design and education, but it can be helpful for anyone who needs to provide feedback on assignments or presentations.
Features include the ability to add text and shapes, arrows, highlights and more. You can share your images using email or social media or save them for later editing.
Markup Hero has a simple interface that makes it easy to use when conducting online classes. To start using it, you'll need to sign up for an account (or log in using your Google account). You can import photos from your computer or Dropbox account or take a screenshot using the built-in screengrab tool.
Once you've found an image you want to annotate, simply click on one of the shapes in the toolbar at the top of the screen (these are similar to PowerPoint shapes). Then click on the image where you want the shape placed, resize it by dragging on one of its corners and then drag it into position over the area you want to be highlighted.
Price: It's completely free!
Which online teaching platform is right for you?
Probably not all of them. Some of them may have tools you find unnecessary, or others may not have the features you need. Ask any teacher, and they'll also have their own personal preferences. But once you know what features are available through your platform of choice, it will be much easier to use those tools. And that's the first step toward becoming a successful online teacher. If you are already successfully running your training business and are looking to build a custom product, we can help you.