Virtual schoolhouse: The best learning apps for online education this fall

virtual-schoolhouse:-the-best-learning-apps-for-online-education-this-fall

E-learning requires a host of tech and tools to enhance the virtual experience. Here are seven of the best online learning apps for distance learning collaboration and engagement.

In recent months, schools and universities around the globe have been forced to operate remotely due to the coronavirus. Many institutions struggled to adapt their curricula for the virtual classroom on short notice. As the pandemic continues to spread, school districts nationwide are opting to continue distance education this fall. Fortunately, there are plenty of helpful technological solutions from hardware to the latest online learning apps to help schools make the transition in the coming weeks. Below, we’ve highlighted seven of the best learning apps on the market to help educators take their virtual classrooms to the next level. While many of these options are free to use, some do charge a fee depending on the product package.

Google Classroom



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Image: Apple

A virtual classroom platform is fundamental to remote learning. There are a number of options to choose from and Google Classroom is a popular choice. Within the platform, teachers can easily streamline their traditional classroom workflows virtually. This enables educators to quickly create curriculums, distribute materials, and provide feedback on assignments in one place. 

Google Classrooms allows teachers to take advantage of numerous helpful digital tools. Cross-reference capabilities built into the platform enables teachers to easily comb through assignments to pinpoint plagiarism, missing citations, etc. In Google Classroom, teachers can also distribute quizzes in locked mode. When this feature is utilized, students are not allowed to use other apps. If a student does leave the app or opens a tab, the teacher will receive a notification.


Google

Miro



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Image: Miro

Just as a chalkboard is fundamental to a traditional classroom, the virtual whiteboard is a crucial component of e-learning. While many platforms offer a basic virtual whiteboard feature, more rudimentary systems can be rather mundane. Miro has created a much more stimulating and visually appealing virtual whiteboard tool to boost classroom collaboration among students and educators. This allows participants to interact with one another in real time.

In the Miroverse, members can leverage a vast spectrum of whiteboard templates to assist with cooperation, interaction, and brainstorming. Miro works with other popular online learning apps and tools such as Google Suite, Slack, Dropbox, and more for seamless virtual classroom integration.


Miro

Prezi



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Prezi is one of the best learning apps for creative lesson planning. Prezi allows educators and students to easily add graphics to their videos and presentations to enhance the visual appeal and engagement of lessons. Prezi offers a massive catalog of quality templates and these can be customized for as needed. Do you need to create an engaging template for the introductions on the first day of class? There’s a template for that with placeholders for photos, icebreakers, and interesting facts built-in. Is a student or teacher working on a presentation or lesson about an exciting upcoming space mission? There’s a template for that as well.


Prezi

Quizizz



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Image: Quizizz

Quizizz is one of the more popular online learning apps at the moment, and for good reason. The application allows educators to easily create and share quizzes with their students. Once completed, the app automatically provides teachers with the results of the quizzes including granular details such as the amount of time a student spent on each question and more.

Quizziz also enables educators to share their past quizzes with other teachers around the globe. These quizzes are categorized by topic in a conveniently searchable catalog. These shared quizzes provide details related to age level, past performance history, and more. As an added benefit, Quizizz can be integrated into Google Classrooms for greater functionality.


Quizizz

Flipgrid



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Image: Flipgrid

Flipgrid from Microsoft allows educators to enhance their virtual classrooms using a feature called Grids. Within these Grids, educators can create new discussion prompts known as Topics. When creating a new topic, teachers can upload existing videos, record new videos, and add videos directly from YouTube and more. Educators can then share the discussion link with students. Students can then post their video response to these individual prompts and flip through their classmate’s responses.

The classroom can then have a virtual message board discussing current global events or provide insights into the unique problem-solving they used on a recent homework assignment.

Using Guest Mode educators can allow parents and guardians to particular Topics. This feature also allows industry experts to chime in and provide insights on the discussion.

Unlike some other tools, Flipgrid makes it very easy to trim videos. The Disco Library also offers a vast catalog of ready-made Topics templates. Flipgrid easily integrates with Microsoft Teams allowing educators and students to share these videos, and grids with other Teams members.


Flipgrid

Trello



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Image: Trello

Trello is a helpful app for real-time collaboration and scheduling. The interface uses a series of columns where people can store and move digital cards. These cards can represent everything from individuals classroom assignments to virtual meetings. If a teacher creates daily cards for homework, students can look under that day’s list of tasks and attach a Google Doc with their assignment. The teacher can then move this card from the “current assignments” column to “pending review.” This allows students and educators to organize and visualize workflows in a virtual space.


Trello

Slack



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Image: Slack

One of the most difficult components of remote work and education is creating a dedicated space for communication. Slack has been a hallmark collaboration app for internal communication and remote workforces for years. The communication app is also a great option for online learning.

Users have the option to communicate with others directly in one-on-one communications or bring in multiple people into one communication channel. It’s easy to upload and share files, documents, and more within the mobile or desktop platform.

A robust online learning platform will need far more than Slack to provide an adequate virtual education experience. Nonetheless, Slack does offer educators and students a straightforward and easy-to-use collaboration app, which is a great starting point.


Slack