Due to the current pandemic, the world has resorted to mostly working from home. While it’s manageable for some business to work from home, it’s quite a chore for schools and online classes. I can relate to the problem since my sister’s been teaching offline for a while and now, out of the blue, her school has resorted to online-only mediums for the forthcoming year.
So, I helped her out with quite a few apps and video conferencing set up and I have compiled a similar list. So, here are the best apps and utilities for teachers taking online classes.
Best Apps And Utilities For Teachers Taking Online Classes
1. Google Forms
Use: Quick online tests and exams
Google Forms is a good way to gather quick feedback or take online exams. You can create your questionnaire online and share the links with all of the students. After the students submit the reply, you will get a summarized result of every student with their name, serial number, score, etc. Fun fact, you can even allot different marks depending on the question.
Additionally, Google Forms let you attach images and videos in the question. It’s really important in case you are dealing with visual questions. My favorite feature is the ability to import questions from previous quizzes. This way you don’t have to create every quiz from scratch.
Visit Google Forms
2. Google Classroom
Use: Assignments, due dates, etc
Google Classroom is a simple assignment creation and submission app. You can create a class and invite all your students to join via the class URL. Once the students are in, you can create assignments with a due date and it’ll be assigned to all the students of the class. Students can submit their answers or their research within the app and you can quickly overview it.
Additionally, Google Classroom allows you to create multiple classes and sections to categorize students. It also integrates well with Google Forms, Google Drive, and Google Calendar. So, you can readily share documents, Google Drive files to the class. Google Classroom is free as part of GApps for Education but you can upgrade for advanced features like video conferencing, live streaming, etc. at $4/user/month.
Use: Create Questions and sample papers
Talking about quizzes and Google Classroom, Problem-Attic is a free website where you can find thousands of quizzes for your questionnaire. The topics range from Algebra, Geometry to Science, and Social Studies. Problem-Attic provides you the option to export the questions in a PDF format. Moreover, if you use Google Forms or Google Classroom, you need to install the Problem-Attic Import plugin and you can directly export the questions to Google Forms.
4. Meet Attendance
Use: Google Meet users for quick Attendance and other enhancements
Google Meet provides free team meetings with up to 100 participants at a time. It’s an ideal video conferencing app for lectures and online classes. However, it lacks a few bit of features like classroom attendance, auto mute, etc. In order to quickly take attendance, you can use a Chrome extension like Meet Attendance. Once you are done with the meeting, click on the “Attendance” icon and it will export all the participant names with join time and leave time.
The only caveat is with that since Google Meet is a Chrome extension and it wouldn’t work within the Android and iOS app.
Download Meet Attendance
Use: Solving maths problems and copying handwritten text
The google-owned Socratic app helps you quickly search for a solution online. For instance, you want to solve a quadratic equation. Just snap a picture using the Socratic app and it will find a solution for you online. The app is quite accurate in finding solutions and it even displays the entire steps taken to solve the problem.
As a teacher, the Socratic app can be very useful to assess doubts of your students or even verify their answers quickly. Socratic supports a range of subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Algebra, Geometry, World History, etc.
6. Office App
Use: Converting handwritten text and documents to word and excel documents
Microsoft Office is an all-in-one app for Microsoft Word, Excel, OneNote, Office Lens, etc. It’s the one-stop productivity app that you would need. But, one of the biggest reasons to recommend is the inbuilt OCR feature. It lets you quickly scan a piece of handwritten text and convert it into a table or document. I frequently use this feature to convert invoices or register entries into an excel table.
7. Google Jamboard
Jamboard is a quick white screen app to collaborate with your students. In case you have used Zoom, you would find a quick whiteboard option where you can draw and illustrate things. Moreover, even the class was allowed to interact with the whiteboard and present concepts.
Google Jamboard is much similar to the “Zoom white screen” but without any video conferencing abilities. You just create a whiteboard, share it with your students and you all can collaborate together on it. Google has plans to integrate Google Jamboard within Google Meet by end of Oct 2020.
Use: Free physics, math, chemistry simulations for students
PhET is a free repository of interactive maths and science simulations. It’s not only a good place for you to learn concepts but you can even share it with your students or use it for demonstration during a video call. PhET provides downloadable HTML simulations which you can modify as per your usage. Hence, these simulations even work offline.
Visit PhET Online Simulations
Use: Create quick illustrations to show students concepts, polls, etc
It’s often hard to show or make illustrations on MS Powerpoint, Paint, or Google Slides. Hence, it’s better to use something like Classroomscreen. It gives you a bunch of in-built scratchpads, timers, calendars, polls, etc that you can share on your screen. For instance, when you have to kickstart a brainstorming session for the class for about 10 mins, just put up an hourglass timer from Classroomscreen, share the screen, so everyone can have keep track of the time.
Use: Flashcards to remember stuff
Flashcard Apps are a good way to learn new stuff. One of the best flashcard apps is Quizlet. It’s majorly concentrated at teaching new languages but also contains flashcards to learn various other things like physic, chemistry, geography, space, anatomy, physiology, etc. If you don’t find a flashcard for your need, Quizlet lets you create your own custom flashcards.
In case you teach pre-school or kindergarten, you can try Kids Flashcards.
During this pandemic, things have resorted to a digital way and at times it can lead to over usage of smartphones. Hence, I would recommend you and even your students to use the Digital Wellbeing app. It’s made by Google and comes built-in your Android device. It can track your app usage and even restrict them after said time. In case you use an iPhone or iPad, you should try Apple’s Screen Time for similar functionality.
Google is pushing its GSuite Apps for Education and there will be a lot of updates coming in this second half of 2020. For more issues or queries, let me know in the comments below.
Also Read: Best Educational Apps for Kids