Micro-learning is learning in the 21st century. Having short bursts of knowledge increases the effectiveness of learning. Incorporating digital educational tools like Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Learning Management Systems (LMS) in our classrooms is a norm in our society. We reviewed 8 top interactive video conferencing software for top notch online education.
1. Edmodo :
A free educational tool with over 87.4 million users that claims to able to build student’s confidence in learning. They refine social networking with classroom learning and incorporated the mixture into a platform for educators to use the numerous resources available in the site to give students quality education. They also update parents on information needed for them to support their child’s learning experience, perfect for our helicopter parents. Parents can keep in touch with teachers through their phones and also have access to viewing their child’s grades. Students should learn to take initiative in their education, which means approaching teachers with questions, and this is something that Edmodo claims that they are able to provide students with a platform for them to do so with ease.
Edmodo even has a unique feature called ‘ Your Distance Learning Toolkit’ for those impacted by school closures from COVID-19. This allows for live streaming, webinars, recorded screencasts and live video conferences.
Pros : Edmodo will surely succeed in enriching students learning with the ability for even parents to track their children’s education, being able to enforce supervision from teachers during class and from parents after class will really push even the most undisciplined students to work for that stellar grade.
Cons : Having constant eyes from parents on student’s learning can place major pressure on students, and make learning difficult and unenjoyable. Edmodo does not allow for student to student interactions, which makes it less engaging, especially when project work is a great way for students to learn from peers and train their team bonding skills.
Here’s one of the testimonials on Edmodo with equal weighing on pros and cons :
Edmodo has a blog as well as a help centre, for readers who are keen to give this toolkit a try.
2. Padlet :
A free platform to create, collaborate and organise content for schools. Many classrooms actively use this site to ensure that students contribute and share what they have learnt, by posting on the page document created. Padlet also allow for businesses to grow by using their ‘Padlet Briefcase’. For schools , they have a ‘Padlet Backpack’ for school administrators to manage the school’s needs and resources.
A key feature of Padlet is that it supports almost every file types that allows users to upload files, photos and links from the Web right from their phones. This ensures portable and convenient learning for students. Attached links and files also appear with a contextual preview to give viewers a glimpse of what is being shown.
Pros : Free, allows easy organising of class materials as teachers or students can curate responses or share links and information.
Cons : I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
They have a FAQ page with links on how to effectively utilize Padlet for educational purposes. Email them, Tweet them or poke them on Facebook!
3. Kahoot! :
This platform allows students to experience first-hand proactive learning via gamification. It aims to drive students to be competitive and pushes students to do their best. The excitement from playing this engaging games makes learning enjoyable and a form of fun distance learning. Kahoot! believes engagement is the way to unlock everyone’s potential, and they aren’t wrong.
Pros : They have options for learning in school, at work and even at home. For schools, students can access Kahoot! easily on their smartphones and even be able to replay classroom Kahoots in single player mode to use as revision.
Cons : Teachers have to spend a lot of time to create such quizzes, which often lasts less than 10mins, meaning this cannot be used as a whole lesson but rather only as an additional tool to aid student’s learning.
But no doubt the students enjoy it!
You can download it on Google Play or the App Store and users can sign up for free, go give it a whirl!
4. Socrative :
A classroom app that utilises fast paced quizzes and grading, with immediate feedbacks that increases the efficiency of learning. They have many key features: reporting, quizzes, activities, showing results and a space race. Imagine a blend of Kahoot, Edmodo and Padlet in one website.
A classroom app that utilises fast paced quizzes and grading, with immediate feedbacks that increases the efficiency of learning. They have many key features : reporting, quizzes, activities, showing results and a space race. Imagine a blend of Kahoot, Edmodo and Padlet in one website.
Users can sign up for free and choose a plan suitable to their needs, taking note that only the Socrative plan is free, the other plans like Socrative PRO for K-12 teachers cost $59.99 USD/year. It is 100% free for students to use, on all devices.
Pros : Allows teachers to create quizzes easily and faster grading as the app does it for them. Students can create activities that caters to their needs, such as when memorising a concept, the app helps to shuffle questions and provides instant feedback. Cons : Teachers need to spend time and effort to analyse individual student data to find out which concepts are harder to grasp. Students ended up focusing more on getting the right answer instead of how to derive the answer.
Thus, although limiting in some aspects, Socrative offers teachers and students a quick and comprehensive way to gather information. Contact them via a form, skim through their blogs which are rich with information on how to use the Socrative app efficiently.
5. Moodle :
Moodle claims to be the world’s most popular learning management system (LMS) that is designed to provide users with personalised learning environments. Created for teacher and students to use with convenience, this is a free, all-in-one learning platform perfect for any virtual classroom. Users can create virtual classes through videos, sharing files and documents, manage courses and have active interactions between teachers and students through chats or forums.
- Extensive resources available in multiple languages with free courses and content, contributed by a large global community. With a larger pool of languages, they promote inclusivity to users worldwide.
- There are also demonstration sites that resets to its blank state every hour, this allows users to experience how the app works.
- There isn’t 24/7 support in Moodle LMS, making it hard to deal with technical difficulties in cases of emergencies, especially during a virtual class, where every minute counts to engage students to learn from their homes.
- However, other people may be using the demonstration site simultaneously, causing unpredictable events, which Moodle mentioned that they cannot be held responsible for any content added to a demonstration site by other site users, this may not be a child friendly option for online based learning.
There are countless types of Moodle sites to choose from, install and upgrade. Check out their Moodle app, which allows students to easily browse their courses even when offline, attempt quizzes, upload documents and videos and view their course grades. However the app only works with Moodle sites that have been set up, which means they need to read through the long Moodle app guide for admins.
6. Electa Live :
Electa Live is a Virtual Classroom Software and a Learning Management System for online education. This app allows educators to teach in a live online classroom, create self-paced courses as well as allowing student to have tests, assignments and grade books.
Pros : Electa Live virtual application is available on all devices, and it is free to download.
Cons : For first time users, students are required to download softwares, configure and test if their computer, tablet or phone is compatible with the virtual classroom plug-ins.
Electa Live also offers a free trial option with different tiers of usage, before users consider to pay for their virtual classroom plans. They have an easy plan focused on web meetings, hence they allow for unlimited live classes and online meetings but this does not include the LMS. For those who want the LMS experience, should opt for the Tutor Pro or Electa Professional plan. All 3 options are given a free trial duration of 2 weeks.
Upon meeting technical difficulties, you can visit their support portal or contact them via email or drop them a call +44 20 8133 6276.
7. Microsoft Teams
This is a free platform that enables people to meet online and chat from anywhere, they allow accessible, sharing and editing Word documents, Power point and Excel files in real time.
Teachers can create teams for different subjects.
Under the general tab, there are sections like Posts for teachers to post their announcements, Files, Class Notebook, Assignments, Grade and Polly.
They can upload notes and important documents for their students in the Files section, making documents easily accessible.
Pros : There is an activity feed that updates the user of anyone who messages or posted something in the team platform.
Cons : This can get easily distracting as there is a notification for every message, imagine when a teacher gets their 30 students to type out ‘Hi’ in real time and the spam that follows after.
8. HeyHi :
HeyHi is the materialisation of education in the palm of your hand, it is a video call app with an interactive whiteboard. Students and teachers can both interactive on the virtual whiteboard either one way or two ways – depending on teacher’s preference. There are also multiple modes of action to have video conferencing such as classroom, lecture and so on. We are probably one of the few companies solely focused on interactive video conferencing software for educational needs.
Check out the features that we displayed on our site to have a quick overview of what the app has to offer, all of which is crucial to improving online learning for students.
HeyHi allows for teachers to track their student’s attendance timing, duration and even what kind of device they are on. This helps to ensure that students learn to be more initiative with their learning.
- Flexible Learning, students are able to tune into lessons via the HeyHi app no matter where they are, and when.
- Convenient and reduces transport cost as students or tutors no longer need to travel to fulfil their roles, instead they can opt for a work from home/home based learning condition.
- Having an online whiteboard often leads to the issue of having legible writings or drawings. Some users did complain of having poor handwriting due to the letter recognition capability of the app.
- Like any other video call platforms, there are bound to be small audio problems that may resurface at times, do contact us if there are any issues affecting your virtual classroom experience.
You can even book a demo to have a glimpse of using HeyHi.
Contact us or leave an email, whatsapp us at (+65) 92994121 if you have questions that we can help you with. We also have mobile apps to support mobile users through Google Play or Apple Store. Check us out and see how interactive your lessons can be through video conferencing!