Best 10 Free Online Tools for Teaching

immanuel vinikas headshot
Immanuel Vinikas
Updated March 14 2022
Online Teaching Tools
immanuel vinikas headshot
Immanuel Vinikas
Updated March 14 2022

The days of standing in front of a classroom armed with just your voice and a piece of chalk are long gone. Thank God. Today, teachers have access to an ever-increasing number of free tools and resources on the internet to spice up their classes and keep their students engaged. Chances are you landed on this page because you were scouting the web for the latest and greatest free online tools for teaching. So here goes…

 

 

 

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Online tools for teaching

 

Top 10 Free Online Tools for Teaching

There are endlessly more free online tools you can use in your classroom, for so many different cases. So, I’m listing the most popular ones for 10 different classroom use cases. I’m sure I’ll follow up with more tools in the future. Chances are you’re already using some of them. If not, give ‘em a try:

 

    1. For live quizzes: Kahoot

Kahoot is a great little app that puts thrill and fun into learning and assessment. You can use it to wrap up a session and test your student’s knowledge or you can launch a Kahoot quiz in the middle of a lesson to switch things up. Setting up a quiz is easy and takes no more than a few minutes. You can even use templates and existing questions. Your students then join the quiz without any download or signup process. They choose a display name and are ready to go. A leaderboard makes the game even more exciting. Kahoot comes with a host of features that are very useful in class, like YouTube integration, slides, a timer, basic reports, etc.

    1. For fun educational games: Baamboozle

Bamboozle is a huge database of 750,000 freely accessible games, created by teachers. Though not all games have high educational value. Many are just great to break the ice, take a break from learning, or reward your students with a little fun. The website is made up of game cards. Clicking a card opens up the game, which again consists of question cards that you can click to reveal the answer. There’s also a simple search box to help you find what you need. The Baamboozle platform is simple to use. No preparation, downloads, or sign-up is needed.

    1. For spelling and grammar activities: Quill

Quill offers a host of learning tools and interactive activities to improve your students’ writing. It’s obviously a great online tool for teaching English-as-a-second-language, but native speakers will still find many of the exercises useful as it digs into common issues like the proper use of punctuation or compound sentences. Quill’s website is smart, delivering instant feedback on the students’ answers and running diagnostics that will point out which skills the students need to work on. They also have proofreading and grammar modules.

    1. For video responses by students: FlipGrid

FlipGrid connects educators, learners, and families through short video discussions. The teacher creates “grids” that function as message boards where teachers can ask questions and students answer with short video responses, displayed as a tiled grid. Getting started is easy, thanks to FlipGrid’s library of ready-to-use topics and the FlipGrid Camera to spark great discussions from the get-go. I heard many good things about Animoto, too. But FlipGrid is purpose-built for learning and teaching, and you can’t beat the discussion features.

    1. For video-based lessons: TED-Ed

Most teachers know and use Ted-Ed, TED’s youth and education initiative. This online tool for teaching holds an ever-growing library of video-based short lessons, created by teachers, students, and animators, on all sorts of subjects, from Arts to Math and Science. Every video is focused on learning. You can conveniently filter and search the library to find the right video within seconds to illustrate your topic or spark a debate. Most videos are around 5-15 minutes long and come with a quiz (Think), additional information and resources (Dig Deeper), and a discussion board (Discuss).

    1. For community-building, in the classroom and beyond: ClassDojo

Another classic, ClassDojo is a digital communication and sharing platform that connects teachers, students, and families and helps create a strong community around the classroom. We established in previous blog posts that community-building is key to building a successful virtual, blended, or flipped classroom. ClassDojo is centered around creating a positive culture in the classroom, giving students a voice, and engaging parents. Accomplishments and good student behavior are encouraged with real-time notifications and collected into progress reports that can be shared with parents and administrators.

    1. For brainstorming and collaboration: Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard is a feature-rich free online whiteboard that makes sense to use for Google account holders (which is pretty much everyone). Jamboards come with a variety of tools like pens, selection tools, sticky notes, image import, text boxes, and a laser pen for presentation. You can open several whiteboards and switch back and forth between them. The Jamboards are stored in your Google account and integrate with other Google apps, like Google Calendar. If you want an alternative to Google Jamboard we heard good things about Canvas Dotstorming.

    1. For collaborative working and writing: Google Docs Editors suite

The Google Docs Editors suite is a great tool for online collaboration and includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. It’s a web-based application that is connected to your Google Drive and makes it easy to collaborate on shared documents in real-time, with editing permissions, a revision history, and comments.

    1. For creating interactive images: Thinglink

Keep your classroom illustrations fresh with interactive images. With Thinglink you can easily create images with audio, visuals, and text, and combine them with hotspots, 360/VR, and other interactive experiences. Thinglink recommends their platform to make online learning feel more real with virtual tours, simulations, and interactive course modules. What’s great is that you can easily share your creations with your students as a standalone file or via social media. Thinglink only offers a free trial, but their paid plans are very democratic.

    1. For real-time assessments: Pear Deck

Pear Deck is an online teaching tool for K-12 schools and teachers that plugs into Google Slides and Microsoft apps to turn them into a powerful active learning tool for students with interactive assessment questions and real-time feedback. The questions come in the form of polls, multiple-choice questions, drawing, dragging, and dropping, and open questions. One of the great features of Pear Deck is that it saves class sessions, so you keep access to student responses.

 

Online tools for teaching

 

What Are Online Tools for Teaching

Online teaching tools are any web-based software, app, or technology that is purposely designed to enhance a teacher’s ability to present and explain information and help the students process and collaborate over new ideas and concepts.

 

Online tools for teaching can be: audiovisual and textual editing tools, virtual classroom platforms, photo and video libraries, online communication tools, educational games and quizzes, assessment tools, productivity tools, etc.

 

Online tools for teaching

 

The Effect of Online Teaching Tools on Education

Think about how often you take to the internet to illustrate a topic or have your students perform tasks. Trust that all other teachers all over the world rely on the internet every day for video resources, homework, games, and other free and paid educational tools. Needless to say, the impact of online tools for teaching has been tremendous.

 

That impact has been mostly positive, with higher student engagement, improved motivation, and better understanding and retention of knowledge. On the downside, the dependency on technology as widened the digital divide and comes with occasional issues like internet downtime, bugs, and other tech-related issues.

 

Online teaching tools are also an essential driver behind new teaching methods like blended learning and flipped classrooms, because they enable students to complete learning tasks independently from home.

 

Online vs offline teaching tools

 

Online vs. Offline Tools for Teaching (Pros & Cons)

This is also the main benefit of online tools for teaching vs. offline tools. Students can complete the tasks independently at a time that suits them best. Meanwhile, the teacher frees up valuable class time for Q&A, remediation, etc.

 

Online tools often come with invaluable features for teachers, such as automatic assessment and engagement analytics, direct feedback and commenting tools, and so much more.

 

future of online teaching tools

 

The Future of Online Teaching Tools

Because the teacher community is very engaged around the topic of online tools for teaching, the market and opportunities are growing and the available tools are constantly being improved. Every year we publish new articles listing the best tools of the moment and every year again we are surprised by the ingenuity, usefulness, and quality of the new tools on offer. We say these are exciting times to be a teacher with all those powerful apps we can avail of in the classroom. We’re already looking forward to what next year will have in store for us. Meanwhile, make sure to try the ten tools we reviewed in this article. Your students will love you for it!

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