Although most virtual classrooms are not free, they have become the solution to provide online classes in the most convenient way possible. Companies like Zoom and Google have come out with products that facilitate streaming and online courses. Distance-learning has been possible thanks to software programs like Skype, Facebook videocalls, including the addition of new functions to Whatsapp.
These programs, known as LMS, serve as virtual classrooms through which various students can get connected and see one another. They have been of great help for freelance teachers, whose major resource has been Skype for a long time. This teaching model has been adopted by institutes and universities, which use more sophisticated programs for online teaching. In this article, we’ll find out some of these apps.
If you are a freelance teacher on a tight dudget, use Facebook videocalling for your classes. It is free, and you only need the two parties to have a camera and a microphone. The only drawback is that it doesn’t allow too many participants.
You can, however, video chat very easily through Facebook smart video calling for teaching and taking classes. Use this option if you have problems with Skype and Google Hangouts. Mind you, the quality of streaming can be inferior to the one of Skype and the other counterpart.
To video chat, add that person as a friend, and call her. You can add more users, but you need to have them on your contact list as well.
Google has enabled another resource for e-learning – Google Hangouts. Like Facebook video calling, you also require three things: a camera, a Gmail account, and fast Internet.
This app allows naming the Hangout account and inviting people. You can do this at no cost. Google Hangouts enables you to take screenshots, add effects, and do recordings of broadcasts. The latter feature comes more in handy for students.
The app only allows up to 9 students per session, as well as sharing the screen and readings.
To create your student group, go to Gmail, and search for the users on your Hangouts contact list. Make sure you are accepted as a friend by all the users you want to include in the conversation.
Skype has popularized among teachers, businesses, freelancers, and outsourcers. It is free and can connect with various students. This tool has been long utilized because of the fact it is simple.
Skype was formerly intended for language learners, but now it is a digital app that is suitable for general online teaching. You just need an Outlook account and good internet to kick off. This renowned e-learning tool allows sharing the screen, files, links, and much more than that. However, it shouldn’t be used for online quizzes or explaining charts. When it comes to didactical resources, Skype is limited.
You can download the program or just access it through web.skype using your Outlook account. To create a teaching group, enter http://web.skype.com/ , search for the students by their Gmail accounts, and send them an invitation to the group.
Zoom is another online tool that has engaged online education and gained a reputation because it is simple. Like SKYPE, Zoom empowers students to share screen, record, lessons, send, and receive jpg, png, and other image formats. You can even curate a whiteboard for teaching.
To host a conversation, enter https://www.zoom.us/signup , submit your credentials, and you’ll be geared up to start a class anytime you want.
Zoom offers the same features as Skype but it loads much faster and has a more professional look.
Newrow – Virtual classroom
With Newrow, you can make your room fast and straightforward, but it will cost you $27 a month. Use it when screen-sharing isn’t enough.
Once you’ve become premium at Newrow, you’ll have a customizable virtual classroom. The screen can be personalized and resized as per convenience to view, send, and receive video, images, charts, tables, datasheet, and other file types.
Newrow offers you digital whiteboard, screensharing, and datasharing. You can do whiteboard recording for displaying charts, teaching mathematics, statistics, and programming. This software allows discussions and video link sharing.
Download the app and then upgrade for more features here.
Vedamo is a teaching program that can be used on the browser and does not require downloading. The program works as a whiteboard where participants take part in a class-simulated environment. Videos can be moved, enlarged and shrunk. It acts very similarly to Newrow, with certain variations. The whole environment is white just like a whiteboard is.
The software also allows copying and pasting links from YouTube and other video-streaming websites like VeVo or DropBox. On the Vedamo whiteboard, you can upload word.docx files, PDF documents, Excel files, and attach files from the PC to make them appear on the whiteboard. Customizing the whiteboard on Vedamo is not rocket science.
The cost of the program is $25 per month. Vedamo is a teaching app that hasn’t been able to catch on as fast as expected, however, it is gaining ground slowly due to its functionality and practicability.
If you want to know more about how it works, check out these tutorials, or pop over to Vedamo website to read the instructions and download it. It offers a 30-day free trial plan.
BigBlueButton is another distance-learning tool that allows sharing files and connects up to 15 webcams. The software is great for architects, engineers, artists, and math teachers who need to draw, create diagrams, and make infographics. Apart from that, it offers the basic features we find in other e-learning teaching apps such as screen sharing, polling, and breakout rooms.
BigBlueButton is an alternative to Zoom and Vedamo, since it has almost the same options. With this tool, it is easy to personalize virtual classrooms and configure recordings.
Unfortunately, the program often has limitations to provide recordings for no more than 60 minutes. This is because the server crashes because of the high demand. On the plus side, it lets you create an account using Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
For more information about BigBlueButton, watch this video to learn the downloading process and how to use it, or go to the website to get straight to the point.