Across all sectors and industries, many companies are taught to brace themselves for unexpected risks and events. Yet somehow, the COVID-19 pandemic still managed to take the entire corporate world by surprise. By 2021, up to 69% of American businesses had permanently closed all or some of their office spaces, opting instead for remote work.
While this transition to remote work was much needed, it has been especially difficult for the educational sector. Most teachers and students still don’t have access to the right tools to make virtual teaching and learning more productive. Fortunately, we’ve curated a list of the essential online teaching tools to add to your arsenal and enhance students’ learning experience.
Let’s get into it!
In physical classes, students take notes and turn in assignments on sheets of paper. However, it’s a little different when it comes to online teaching. If you’re teaching remotely, students need to turn in assignments via the digital equivalent of notes: PDF files.
Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to annotate papers and provide feedback to students in PDFs. They are notably challenging to edit, posing a problem for teachers and students alike. Hence, the need for a PDF editor.
With a PDF editor, teachers can easily edit assignments, annotate them and leave constructive feedback for students to enhance their learning experience and ensure that they aren’t missing out on anything.
Online communication tools
Effective communication is the backbone of every learning experience. While this is relatively easy to achieve in a physical classroom, it’s not the same for remote teaching. Teachers who have to do their jobs virtually tend to struggle with communication and the dissemination of information.
This is where online communication tools come in. You can converse with even the largest class with the right communication platform. Most of these platforms come with a video conferencing feature that lets you see students in real-time and personalizes the entire experience.
This brings us to the big question: which communication platform is the best? Fortunately, as a teacher, you have tons of options available. You can choose from some of the most prominent players in the market, such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.
Wondering which essential online teacher resources you need to boost your arsenal? Online whiteboards are undoubtedly worth considering. Blackboards/chalkboards are an integral part of the teaching process, and in the absence of these items, digital whiteboards can still help teachers illustrate and dissect important information for students.
These online whiteboards are typically easy to use as they often come with shape libraries and outlines to aid with visualization as you teach. And with these teaching materials, you can recreate the classroom experience for students.
Work planning tools
Let’s face it: teachers (alongside other essential workers) have the busiest work schedules. From creating a detailed lesson plan to looking over assignments after school hours, there’s just so much that needs to be done. That’s why teachers need to arm themselves with work planning tools to boost productivity and ensure that they never miss deadlines.
For instance, you could use tools like Google Calendar for time management and creating class schedules. You can also use simple tools like Super Teacher Worksheets to develop efficient, fun worksheets for your students.
Social media channels
Social media channels may be used mainly for fun and personal posts, but who says teachers can’t use them for educative purposes? With platforms like Facebook, you could create discussion groups where you and your students can exchange vital information and ask questions on topics they haven’t grasped fully.
However, before leveraging social media channels for online learning, it’s advisable to obtain permission from parents first.
Document management tools
Virtual learning certainly involves a lot of documents. You have your lesson plans, notes, grades, and feedback on the one hand. On the other hand, you still have to deal with students’ assignments, test scripts, and whatnot. With so many vital documents under your thumb, it’s easy to lose track of some of them.
To prevent this from happening, you need a management tool to streamline all your documents and keep them in one secure place. Use cloud-based options like OneDrive or Dropbox to store your documents in the cloud and organize them in relevant folders. This way, you’ll never lose another file again.
Online video tools
Several studies have shown that videos effectively drive student engagement and boost motivation. As such, you should certainly consider using them to break the monotony of virtual learning.
But how exactly do you create videos for your classes? Fortunately, numerous teacher tools can help you create and share videos with your students.
For starters, you could record online classes and upload said videos to YouTube, where students can rewatch them to refresh their memory. In some cases, it doesn’t even have to be your videos; you could share links to other helpful video resources to help them grasp a topic better.
Online quiz makers
Every student finds quizzes annoying, but they are essential for tracking their academic performance and can help figure out blind spots. For a teacher, resources like online quiz makers will help navigate this vital element in virtual classroom settings.
Thankfully, tons of online quiz makers help you create and share assignment briefs online and help you record grades. For instance, with Google Forms, you can make easily accessible quizzes for your students. The best part? It’s free!
Online homework platforms
Most students struggle to keep up with homework. But for teachers, it’s almost unheard of, unless you’re working from home, that is. When it comes to remote teaching, teachers might find themselves struggling for the first time to keep track of homework submitted by numerous students in different formats.
However, with the right platforms, you can create a streamlined avenue for students to turn in assignments and ensure that said assignments are stored safely. For instance, students can use Google Docs to submit essays and creative stories. In turn, this app lets you comment and leave suggestions for constructive feedback.
If you’re looking to conquer virtual teaching, the tools outlined above will set you on the right path and help you provide an enhanced learning experience for students. However, remote education can take a toll on anyone, and as such, you need all the support you can get. If you need help or support, there are tons of online teaching sites where you can get support from other teachers and access essential online teaching courses.