Teachable, one of the many online teaching tools, made over $1 billion from sales of courses on their platform at the end of 2020. This figure shows just how big of a deal online education is in today’s world.
During the 2020 pandemic, regular operations changed across industries. Introducing modern working methods into every sector, including education. This increased the popularity of online teaching aka e-learning. And it’s yet to die down.
But how do you do it right?
Hosting classes across states and continents, however groundbreaking, is also quite tough. You need tools and resources that help you manage this entire process. From teaching, to managing student interactions, to keeping your students engaged, and also for giving out tests and exams.
So we've compiled 9 of the best online teaching tools to help scale your teaching experience.
What is online teaching?
Unlike the traditional method of teaching that requires you to go before a class of students and in front of a board, online teaching is any form of teaching that happens using the internet.
Whether you are part of a recognized institution or an individual creator, any exchange of knowledge done using the internet is referred to as online teaching and learning.
This type of learning is important because it's a more flexible form of education that caters to people from different areas of the world. It’s also a way of making education more accessible and fitting in the modern world.
What are Online Teaching Tools?
Online teaching tools are tools that enable the exchange of knowledge across the internet.
These are simply web based apps and programs used to conduct and manage all your e-learning activities. They cover various aspects of the teaching process by virtually connecting you to your students.
Online teaching tools fall into several categories like communication tools, learning management systems, as well as learning resources that could aid your teaching.
In the next section we’ll cover 9 of the best tools to use to improve your online classes.
Best Online Teaching Tools
There are a lot of online teaching tools in the market today. But these are our top choices for tools that every modern educator needs in their stack.
Loom: for screen recording and making quick interactive videos
Video is a great teaching/learning medium. Not only because it’s engaging but also because it allows for asynchronous learnings too.
A screen recording and video making tool. Loom has several benefits that make it a top choice for educators.
With Loom you can:
Create quick videos to go along with your notes.
Explain specific things either to a whole class or to students who ask a question or need help.
Students can also use it for project presentations.
It lets you add a more personal touch to your teaching process by also giving video feedback on student’s assignments. You can show them where they got a thing wrong or right. Show them examples of how to do something well. Highlight specific areas using the highlight feature. Work them through a process rather than just writing it.
These videos can also be integrated and shared across platforms. Whether email, social media, or some other platforms in this post. And they’re always in your library so anyone can easily access them, unless you make them private.
Zoom: for live hosting your classes
This video conferencing tool is good for more than just work meetings, it’s also a great platform for live hosting your classes. It’s also easy to use and available on every type of device.
With just a link you can easily teach and connect with a large number of students all over the world. Zoom has several features that make it a good tool. Some of which are:
You can record your classes so they’re available for future reference and use.
It also lets you divide a classroom into several rooms to encourage group discussions and exercises.
Students can drop comments and questions in the chat boxes so the teaching flow isn’t interrupted.
You can also use accessibility features like closed captions and live transcriptions so each class is useful to every type of student.
With Zoom, you can comfortably teach and your students can interact with each other as well as make presentations. Just like in a regular classroom.
Google Slides: for lecture notes and presentations
This is an easy tool for creating lecture notes that are concise and useful for students.
Typically, lecture notes include word-for-word long lessons which are hard to follow and will likely go unread by the majority of your students. But with slides, you can create more concise microlearning presentations that focus on the key points. You can also include all forms of multimedia like gifs, videos, and images to make the notes more engaging.
Google Slides is a good presentation tool choice because it’s easy to use and encourages easy sharing across platforms like email and Zoom. You can also choose to record a presentation of your Google Slides using Loom. This way students get to listen to your explanations and teaching while following your notes.
This video tutorial will show you how to record your Google Slides presentation with Loom.
Slack: for better organized communication
Outside of lectures, you also need a tool that helps you stay in touch with your students and where you can keep resources organized for them to always find. Slack provides this.
I recently spoke to a few educators who teach bootcamps and classes online. And the majority mentioned Slack as their primary means of communication.
This is no surprise because this tool makes it easy for students to follow-up with teachers as well as start and continue conversations that could be beneficial learning resources for a class too. Unlike emails, Slacks are easy to follow as you can organize conversations into topic-based channels. It allows for a more relaxed form of communication. Like chats.
You can also use Slack with other teaching tools like Zoom and Google Drive. As well as share your Loom videos in Slack channels.
Alternative: Discord is also a popular option for online educators and communities.
Notion: for task management
Notion is the task management and organization tool you need as a modern educator.
Preparing lectures and teaching is already enough work. Then there’s also the stress of managing students' information, grades, lecture plans, assignments, etc. And it doesn’t end there, you also need to be able to change and update your plans as student needs or even the school calendar changes.
With Notion, the management part of being a teacher is taken care of. They have created templates you can use to quickly organize your class resources, create lesson plans, and even build a simple class website.
Many students have taken to using Notion templates to organize their classwork as well.
ConvertKit: for email marketing and distribution of lessons
Online teaching happens in several forms. In one case it’s a teacher hosting live classes with students. And in another case it could be you as an educator sharing pre-prepared digital courses.
If you fall in the second category then email marketing is one way to deliver your lessons. This is where ConvertKit is useful. This tool prides itself in being ‘’the go-to marketing hub for creators’’ like yourself.
With ConvertKit you can:
Pace the course so it’s easy-to-follow. Just create a drip series for how the course will be sent out. Daily? Every 2 days? You can fix it however you decide.
Monitor and analyze the engagement you receive on each email. How many people opened the email and engaged with it? This helps you optimize the course for better performance.
Include all forms of multimedia in your emails like Loom recordings, quizzes, pdf downloads, etc.
Send follow-ups and also give learners direct access to you should they need it.
Quizlet: for creating a more interactive learning environment
Online learning comes with its pitfalls. For example, there’s a higher chance of students getting bored or easily distracted. This is why you need your classes and learning materials to be as interactive and engaging as possible.
Quizlet is a tool that allows you to employ more visual components to your teachings. With it you can:
Create flashcards to help students learn and easily remember important things.
Create interactive lesson tournaments to encourage healthy competition amongst students.
Support your lecture notes and classes by granting students access to extra knowledge and practice tests in over 64 different disciplines.
Podia: for hosting and selling your digital courses and products
For digital creators and educators, Podia is your one-stop easy tool for building and selling your courses and digital products.
There are several features on Podia that make it easy for you to set up your pre-made course while they handle the payment collection and other technical parts. They provide you everything you need from a free website/sales page, to a means for hosting and selling your courses, digital downloads, and workshops.
This tool also stands out because it lets you create and nurture an audience of potential and existing customers. You can create communities and memberships on the platform.
Examples of digital products you can host on Podia include; one on one coaching sessions, ebooks, courses, and workshops.
Formative: for assessment creation and monitoring
Formative is another online teaching tool that’s very useful. It provides you with a digital whiteboard to use for lectures and ability to create instructional learning videos.
But its major selling point is its usefulness as an exam and assessment maker that aims to minimize the chances of malpractice while also helping you measure and monitor students' progressions overtime.
“Ensuring test integrity” is one of Formative’s key missions. They do this by:
Using a Respondus Lockdown Browser which ensures students aren’t able to open other sites or apps while on a test.
Notifying you of texts that have been copied and pasted or plagiarized. Even though the student deletes it.
How Do Online Teaching Tools Help Educators?
Whether or not you practice remote, hybrid, or traditional teaching methods, one thing is certain. Everything is digital and online now.
From booking a cab to shopping and education, your students are living in a world they navigate mainly from the comfort of their mobile phones. These online tools only help you bridge the gap between knowledge and your students by making learning more accessible for people all over the world, engaging, and easier. They also increase the chances of providing students with more personalized training which increases knowledge retention rates.
The tools covered in this post are some of the best online teaching tools you can include in your teaching process now. They are easy to use, 100% free for educators or have free packages, allow for integrations with other tools, and they can also be used by your students too.