More teachers than ever are teaching core subjects to students halfway around the world. Global teachers have the unique experience of creating relationships within the “Earth School.” Global learners are able to take advantage of the vast stores of knowledge from other cultures. It is an exciting time to be an educator making use of online teaching tools.
It is utterly important that global digital citizenship be a component of these online schools. The education and opportunities inherent in the format will drive the technology to new heights.
As more and more teachers go online, the biggest hurdle is the technology.
Fortunately, from a virtual classroom standpoint, learning management systems (LMS) have been popping up left and right. Web conferencing tools geared toward elearning are too numerous to mention.
Are you looking for a robust learning management system? Or are you simply looking to have web conferencing added to your list of online teaching tools? There are some open-source ones to try out before leaping into the fray with more robust, user-friendly ones for a fee.
Open-Source Learning Management Systems
Moodle—at this point, the most popular LMS with many good reviews and a solid community for online help.
Canvas—used by many universities; a newer player in the field, but gaining a following.
Dotlrn—pronounced “dot learn,” this system is tried and true with a vast number of users already in place to help.
The LMS can be compared to your own studio and encompasses not just the face-to-face instruction presentation, but the whole package including grading and record keeping, lesson planning, and goal setting.
If you are simply in the market for a conferencing tool, then check out the following online teaching tools geared toward web conferencing. These are simply “the classroom and whiteboard” with rich features that allow you to get your live content across.
Get your class to meet at the same time, same place, and armed with your uploaded presentation, you’re golden.
A virtual whiteboard can be at your disposal, or you can share your screen for even greater flexibility. See your students face-to-face and interact with them in real time, as opposed to discussions which may run the entire week through text chats and emails.
Although web conferencing tools are not enough for most of us, they are at least a starting point for your students to get to know the real teacher in you.
Bigbluebutton—an open-source web conference system for online learning that lets you share documents (PDF and office docs), webcams, chat, audio and your desktop. It can also record your sessions for playback.
Zoom—online meetings and cloud conferencing with tons of custom features offered in different plans.
GoToMeeting—a simple and cost-effective way to meet online with colleagues and customers from any mobile device. Share webcams in high definition, integrate VoIP, telephone, HD video, and more.
Online Teaching Programs
Another starting point for online teaching will certainly be to get hired by an established online teacher program that has it all set out for you. Just provide your curriculum and your resources. Here are 3 worth mentioning:
Get Educated—over 18,000 online degrees from over 1,200 colleges and universities are available here.
Ed2Go—a network of more than 2,100 engaging online courses from top colleges, universities, and other organizations and covering every topic from accounting to web design.
Udemy Teach—a portal for creating your own online course on a platform serving over 8 million students taking courses in everything from programming to yoga to photography.
One last piece of advice from Edutopia we found really useful: take a quality online course yourself as a student, so you can experience through your own students’ eyes what they’ll be going through. This gives you insight on how to plan better. Once you have experienced this, dig into your research and figure out how you’ll get your own teaching studio to work for you.