Over the past year teachers around the world have become a lot more au fait with a raft of online learning platforms to enable them to continue to teach remotely.
However, for every tool you know about there are, no doubt, many more out there still waiting to be uncovered: for everything from editing images and GIFs, to debating platforms and tools for helping English as an additional language (EAL) learners.
Online teaching tools
Below are 10 digital learning tools that have helped me hugely this year but are worth being aware of.
Kapwing is a collaborative platform for creating and editing images, videos and GIFs. Similarly to Google’s G-Suite, students can work on the same project simultaneously.
The free version is more than enough, but remember to ask students to export their content, as the free version only allows two days of storage per project. Genially has very similar features, too.
This tool is designed to enable rich discussions in your remote classroom by allowing you to host debates and discussions.
You can set a discussion question and students respond individually and provide feedback to each other's responses. During the live discussion, students can challenge ideas, build on someone else’s point and more.
You can track who has responded and how frequently, nudge students to speak, create live polls and provide feedback. The free version allows for up to 12 roundtable discussions.
Billed as an adaptive writing platform, No Red Ink is particularly great for EAL learners.
The free version allows you to set practice SPaG and essay-writing exercises, a range of scaffolded writing activities and assessments that can be self- or peer-assessed. NoRedInk can also be linked to Google Classroom.
4. Explain Everything
This app – with its bold name – allows you to record and share video lessons, facilitate collaborative projects, and livecast your whiteboard as you draw diagrams, annotate and sketch to explain key concepts.
The free version is rather limiting, but a good way of trying out the features before upgrading to a paid plan. Limnu is also great, but only the first 14 days are free.
5. Pear Deck
Pear Deck allows you to add interactive questions and formative assessment to your slides. You can set a range of questions, from multiple choice to short answer and draw, and see student responses in real time.
Pear Deck works as an add-on to Google Slides and PowerPoint, so it is straightforward to integrate into your lessons.
Another great tool for teaching critical thinking and debating skills, Kialo allows you to host an online classroom debate but where students can explore arguments at their own pace, and without speaking over each other.
The platform can also be used to plan essays – students can see how their ideas fit together and come up with counter-arguments. Use the Kialo Edu version, as it is free.
Wakelet is great for collaborative work; anyone can add and edit a range of material, from text to images, tweets and videos. Users can also save their favourite collections to their own account for future reference. Even better, it’s completely free.
8. Poll Everywhere
Lastly, Poll Everywhere allows you to make any lesson interactive by adding quick assessment-for-learning questions. Choose from multiple-choice, open-ended questions, ranking activities and many more. Students can respond on the app, or via your personal link.
It also integrates with PowerPoint, Google Slides and Keynote. The free version lets you have up to 40 participants per activity, and an unlimited number of activities.
Karolina Malinowska is an assistant head of English at an international school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia