Online teaching platforms for educators

5 Free Online Teaching Platforms for Educators

Online teaching platforms have been gaining popularity even before the current Covid-19 pandemic resulted in school disruptions and a shift towards online learning. These platforms serve as a hub that aggregates course materials, lecture videos, worksheets, discussion forums, and quizzes. 

Anything that can be digitalised can be hosted on these platforms. By centralising course materials, teachers can keep track of students’ progress while students can easily access the archive of resources prepared by their teachers. In short, online teaching platforms are useful to teachers for both physical and online classes.

In this article, we will focus on the use of online teaching platforms for school teachers, not sites such as Udemy and SkillShare that allow individuals to create paid online courses for independent learners. In other words, we are looking at online teaching platforms that teachers can use in conjunction with their regular lessons. 

These are the 5 online teaching platforms for educators that we will introduce here:

  1. Edmodo
  2. Google Classroom
  3. Moodle
  4. ClassDojo
  5. HeyHi’s online whiteboard

1. Edmodo

Edmodo is an online teaching platform with an interface that resembles Facebook. Students can join class pages with a code distributed by the teacher. Within these pages, teachers can post updates, polls, worksheets, and other assignments for students. Since Edmodo is purely for educational purposes, students will not be distracted by irrelevant content while perusing the content on Edmodo. 

To facilitate online discussions, teachers may post questions or videos and prompt students to type their opinions in the comments section. 

In the folders tab, teachers can also organise and consolidate class materials for students. 

Besides engaging students on Edmodo, teachers can also invite parents to the class group. From Edmodo, teachers can send updates and announcements to parents, thus enabling parents to be aware of their child’s progress in school. 

There are three types of accounts on Edmodo: teachers, students, & parents. The capabilities of each depend on the type…

Posted by Edmodo on Thursday, May 28, 2020
Types of account on Edmodo. Infographic from Edmodo on Facebook.

2. Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a free service for schools that have registered for a G Suite account. On Google Classroom, teachers can create and grade assignments on top of sharing files and documents with students. 

Since Google Drive is integrated with Google Classroom, it is easy for students to collaborate with their classmates on group projects and assignments. With the option to send emails to students within a class, Google Classroom streamlines the way information is disseminated.

For more tips on how you can incorporate Google Classroom into your teaching curriculum, please check out the video below:

Google Classroom tutorial on YouTube

3. Moodle

Moodle allows teachers to create and customise a free site for their classes. On Moodle, teachers can manage students and course materials across various subjects or modules that they teach. 

Moodle is a powerful tool for teachers to track whether students are clicking through to view or download class materials. Moodle Analytics can also predict and highlight students who are struggling with course content. 

When teachers turn to online learning, they worry that the lack of supervision will lead to lower grades among students. With Moodle, teachers can closely monitor the learning progress of students and thus offer their assistance whenever necessary.

Moodle promo video on YouTube

4. ClassDojo

ClassDojo is a free online teaching platform that also mirrors Facebook’s interface. ClassDojo is unique from the other online teaching platforms on this list because it introduces a point system. This point system incentivises students to put on their best behaviour and to participate actively in class. 

Similar to Facebook, teachers and students can upload images of their class activities for parents to view from their mobile devices. This feature gives parents regular updates on their children amid their busy schedules. 

Online teaching platforms: A student holding up a tablet with ClassDojo displayed on the screen
A student holding up a tablet with ClassDojo displayed on the screen. Photo by ClassDojo.

5. HeyHi’s Online Whiteboard

You may have noticed that the preceding online teaching platforms seek to improve communication between parents, students, and teachers, or to consolidate course content online. Now, we would like to introduce you to HeyHi’s online whiteboard, a teaching tool that complements any of the aforementioned platforms. 

HeyHi’s online whiteboard incorporates video conferencing features that allow teachers and students to collaborate remotely. With such capabilities, we would like to suggest that teachers adopt HeyHi’s online whiteboard as part of a shift towards a flipped classroom teaching format. 

What is a flipped classroom pedagogy?

In a flipped classroom, teachers upload learning materials for students to go through and internalise at their leisure. In class, teachers will then devote time to concepts that are harder to grasp. 

In this case, teachers can upload notes and pre-recorded tutorial videos to an online learning platform such as Moodle or Edmodo. Students are expected to plan their schedules and master the basics of this content before attending a virtual class on HeyHi’s online whiteboard. Students who have gone through these independent learning exercises online will then be prepared to launch into class discussions from the get-go.

With a flipped classroom pedagogy, teachers can leverage interactive tools such as HeyHi’s online whiteboard to make classes engaging and more enriching for students. 

Facilitate class discussions with HeyHi’s online teaching platform

HeyHi is an online teaching platform that grants students access to a shared whiteboard. With HeyHi’s pen and highlighter tools, students can write and draw pictures to demonstrate their learning. Rather than to complete assignments by themselves, students can discuss over video chat while filling up worksheets together. By doing so, students have the opportunity to cross-check what they have learned beforehand and thus improve knowledge retention

Online teaching platforms: HeyHi's online whiteboard
HeyHi’s online whiteboard. Screenshot by HeyHi.

You may be wondering, “In a class of thirty will it be too chaotic for students to collaborate?” Well, HeyHi’s online whiteboard is expandable and you will never have to worry about running out of whiteboard space. Simply zoom out to reveal more blank spaces, or shift to a different section of the whiteboard. 

You can also create new whiteboard pages without erasing or deleting the original whiteboard that you or your students have been working on.

Online learning platforms: HeyHi's online whiteboard
Toggle between whiteboards on HeyHi. Screenshot by the writer.

You may be pleased to know that HeyHi is also free to download for Apple and Android devices! Please refer to HeyHi’s pricing page for more information on the different subscription tiers.

Summary

This article has introduced you to 5 online teaching platforms for educators:

  1. Edmodo
  2. Google Classroom
  3. Moodle
  4. ClassDojo
  5. HeyHi’s online whiteboard

Whether you are conducting face-to-face or online lessons, online teaching platforms are excellent tools to increase students’ access to educational resources. Each online teaching platform has different selling points: 

  • Edmodo and ClassDojo are perfect for spontaneous discussions with their social media interface. 
  • Moodle and Google Classroom are fantastic for hosting documents, assignments, and quizzes in a centralised location. 
  • HeyHi provides a level of interactivity that cannot be achieved with any of the other platforms listed here. 

Therefore, HeyHi’s online whiteboard pairs well with any of the above online teaching platforms. When employed in a way that each platform complements one another, these tools can enhance and augment students’ learning experience. 

If you are interested in trying out HeyHi’s online whiteboard after reading this article, please reach out to us to request a demo or even experience the user interface for yourself!

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