Top 5 tools for remote education
Distance, or remote, education is not news, as the whole world has had to adapt to it in 2020.
But the switch of available technical solutions didn’t appear immediately, and both students and teachers had to struggle in the beginning. In this article we wanted to show a short overview of tools that can help tutors and students in a distance learning environment.
Online tools for distance education can be separated into a few different categories. Though most of them try to combine different functionalities, we’ll try to divide distance learning tools into the following categories by their core, unique functionality:
- Online learning resources;
- Communication tools;
- Presentation tools.
Online learning tools
This category can be referred to as more of a self-study or self-learning tool, though they are used by many tutor-guided education institutions because some of the topics are covered brilliantly on some platforms. So, why waste time trying to explain some concepts if someone has already done it in an easy to understand manner, in many cases for free? It’s important to note that none of these sources alone can provide complete knowledge, and the best way is to combine online learning tools with other sources that your tutor advises.
Udemy is a paid platform where tutors can sell their subject-focused video courses. Some tutors combine their lessons into bigger packages that are suggested to be learned together, but in most cases they provide stand-alone products that can be a good add-on to other sources of education. Despite being a paid platform, most students buy single courses during promo sales for a fraction of a price, and most courses guarantee life-long access to materials.
So, students can buy any course of their choice and study in a self-paced manner, without worrying about the end of subscription period or deadline of the access to the course. One of the big pros of this platform is the quality of the course - because tutors get paid based on the sales volume, they do really care about the quality of their lessons and its rating on the platform, so most of the Udemy courses are really worth it. But we want to warn you that it takes time for a course to get a decent amount of positive votes, so usually these top-voted courses have a higher chance of being outdated by the time you learn them. So, be sure to check the publishing date and check if there were major updates on the tech or subject that you are interested in learning after the course release date.
Khan Academy is an urban legend, a top-notch learning resource which is free for students and teachers. It provides video lessons on STEM, language and life skill subjects that provide a step by step, easy to understand approach. So, if you think that your school hasn’t provided you the best understanding of math, science or any other subject and you feel that you’ll benefit from learning it thoroughly - Khan Academy could be a perfect place to start. Platform accepts donations, because it’s a non-profit organization, so if you enjoy it - make sure to pay back once you have enough resources to do so. Aslo, it could be valuable to check Salman Khan’s - Khan Academy’s founder - talk on Ted Talks conference about video education as a whole.
This category doesn’t require a detailed description, as many schools and universities choose some of these systems according to their internal software integration policies and students don’t have much of a choice. But we need to mention top platforms because all of these (and not only these) softwares provide the basis of remote education, and without programs like these all the remote learners and workers would have tougher work and learning experience :)
- Zoom - it’s not only a video conferencing tool, but it also supports integration with external presentation, gamification, online quizzes and all sorts of other apps.
- Microsoft Teams - a perfect fit for institutions that use Microsoft Office 365 Suit as their main standard. The problem is that it requires installation and it’s not free for institutions, and they need to buy licenses for their end users to benefit from Office 365 suite.
- Google Classroom - is a free blended learning platform that provides a full end-to-end learning process for partially online or fully remote education. The primary purpose of this platform is to streamline a process of sharing files between students and teachers.
Canva is a graphic design platform that is used for social media designs, presentations, posters and other visual content. Every visual asset is modular and you can work efficiently in a team of designers. It includes templates that you can use for your content, and you can create your own templates for future reusability.
Prezi is a presentation software that puts a huge emphasis on engaging and impactful presentation. It is achieved through very creative animations and transition from slide to slide that won’t let any of your viewers not engage in your content. You can use one of their numerous templates, or create your own template on Prezi. But the suggestion is to you different templates for each presentation, because it allows you to surprise people every time they watch your presentations.
Podofly is our audio-driven software to create presentations based on your audio recording. You can either record your audio directly on Podofly or upload your pre-recorded file, and add audio effects to the background if you want to. Then Podofly’s AI driven algorithm will transcribe your audio into a text format so that you can navigate through different parts of your story without a need to guess on which second of the audio recording you said what - our transcription’s algorithm will highlight what might be a keyword for you.
After adding your audio, the system will transcribe your audio into a text form, but we do also have a text-to-speech function. So, if you are more of a writer, you can still make your text audible by using text-to-speech, and with a few visuals you can easily turn your text into videos.
This can be used for school presentations, and for teaching in classes as well. In the remote job environment, any of these tools can be used in various ways, so feel free to play with each of them and you’ll find the best combination of software for your day-to-day remote education or self-studying.
The best thing is that most of these services support SSO (single sign on) for authentication, so you can only use one account by, for example, google, and won’t need to remember different logins and passwords for different platforms. And since there is no “one program fits all” software out there, you will have to use a combination of different tools. Just give it a try and we hope that you’ll find some of these remote education tools useful.