To be a teacher in any capacity requires a lot from someone. It requires patience, tolerance, understanding, and empathy. In addition to these human qualities, to be a teacher in an online environment, there are certain physical tools needed. While online teachers do not need chalkboards and erasers, there are other digital tools that they need to provide a proper virtual classroom experience. Some of these tools are well known such as virtual meeting software, but there are lesser-known tools that are just vitals. Here we will go over some of the most important tools needed to teach online.
One of the most underrated tools for teachers and people, in general, is a PDF editor. A PDF editor is a type of program or application that allows you to edit and manage PDFs. There are many reasons PDF editors would be useful to teachers in a traditional classroom or an online setting. With a PDF editor, you can create PDFs that can be used as exams, study guides, or teaching materials. With a PDF editor, a teacher can use its many tools to merge PDFs to create workbooks or even convert another document type into a PDF with the convert PDF tool.
Online Communication Tools
When teaching online, it is important to keep in close contact with your students. This is needed so that they will know what is expected of them. What to read, what work to do and when there will be exams. In addition to this, being able to communicate with students works the other way and allows students to ask questions and gain clarity on certain topics pertaining to the online class. There are several ways to communicate in an online classroom. There are chatting services such as Slack or for some online programs like Blackboard, which have a messaging system built-in.
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Giving lectures is a good way to convey information, but depending on the topic, it might not be the best way. If for example, you are explaining a math equation, it might be difficult to explain it without being able to show the students. This is why something like a virtual online whiteboard can be super useful. An online whiteboard is a tool that a teacher can use during a virtual lesson to show students new information rather than just explaining it to them. It works just like a whiteboard or chalkboard in a live classroom but it’s easier to use. Teachers can draw on it, write on it, and even take screenshots so students can see the information later.
Work Planning Tools
Not all tools are specially used during the class period. Some of the tools for online classes are used by the educator to plan and organize the classes and the course itself. One such example of this would be a work planning tool. This can act as a calendar for activities and lectures as they are needed. For teachers and students, online courses can be a great convenience but there are potential issues when it comes to organizing them and arranging times and assignments. Having a streamlined calendar system like Calendly is a great asset in terms of class efficiency.
Social Media Channels
Everything is on social media now and that includes education. If used in the correct way, social media is an amazing tool for both educators and students alike. It can be used to get out group messages with chat tools like Slack and Whatsapp, or teachers can create Facebook groups where students can talk and ask questions. Using social media as a tool to create engagement and discussion fits directly with its intended purpose. It is important though when working with social media as a tool of education, to make sure that it isn’t abused, and students are focused and on task.
Document Management Tools
When organizing an online course or preparing to teach online, there are generally a lot of documents that need to be organized. These documents include but are not limited to tests, quizzes, study guides, syllabi, etc. This is not a problem if these documents are kept in an organized way so that both the teacher and students have easy access to these materials. One easy way to do this is to have a document management tool like Google Drive. Google Drive allows you to have a cloud-based storage system that allows for easy access to documents such as PDFs and image files.
Online Video Tools
Some of the most prominent tools that have been used in recent years concerning online education are video conferencing tools. These ways of chatting and speaking live have been used widely since the Covid-19 pandemic started and almost everyone has had to use them at some point or another. They are easy to use and allow for a greater teacher and student interaction. There are many different ones to choose from and each offers different tools that can be used for different purposes.
Online Quiz Makers
Not all tools need to be overly technical in nature, some of them can even be fun. For teachers who want to test their student’s levels or even have some fun activity, there are online quiz makers that let the teacher create their quiz which students can then take and see the results. Students can also use these online quiz makers to quiz their peers!
Online Homework Platforms
Although students might not like homework, it can often be to their benefit. This is especially true with an online or remote-based course. This is because students need to continue to see their progress to keep them focused and attentive. For teachers, having an online source for assigning, receiving, and grading homework assignments is essential if they are to know what the level of their students is and how they can continue to assist them and help them grow. These homework tools can also be used to help students to work in groups and collaborate on group projects.
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