As teachers in many areas of the country struggle to take their classroom activities into the virtual training world, here’s what we’re finding.
Many are familiar with online teaching tools that they have been using in their classrooms: tools such as Quizlet, and Kahoot!, and Quizziz, and Swivl. Collaborative tools such as Google Docs are also in use. (These are all tools that bear a look by business trainers as well!)
Students log in through their iPads, tablets, or laptops and participate online in the midst of the classroom. They can access these tools from home as well, to complete assignments or do independent learning.
But with many school systems going completely virtual basically overnight, many teachers are struggling to translate the classroom experience itself into the online world. Sound familiar? Our business classes are doing the same.
The first question is what online platform can I use? Some school systems already have virtual learning systems set up: Blackboard, Canvas, Google Classrooms, and so on. Businesses may already have Adobe Connect, Webex, Microsoft Teams, or even Skype for Business.
Other teachers need a low-cost online solution—as many in the business world do as well—and they need it now.
Here are a couple of our favorites, with a quick look at costs, features, and limitations.
Zoom: It seems as though the whole world has been holding meetings on Zoom for the first time in the past week! Churches, synagogues, book groups, writer’s collectives, families…and teachers. Zoom certainly was in the right place at the right time. Here are the details:
- meet with one person for free, for as long as you like
- Meet with 2 – 100 people, but with a 40-minute limit
14.99/month version: Meet with up to 100 people, with no time limit
Webex Personal: If you are familiar with the corporate version of this software, with its rather high costs, you may be surprised to learn there is a free version! It does not look and function identically to the corporate version—it lacks a whiteboard feature, for example. But other functions will be familiar. Teachers—It has a great Webcam feature, a fabulous “hand raise” tool, chat, and other tools that are very useful for teaching.
- Meet with up to 100 people, with no time limit
- Call-in users may have to pay—but computer audio works fine for free!
- Meet with up to 50 people
- Call-in included
- Has many other business-related functions, such as scheduling
As both school teachers and business trainers alike are thrown into the virtual world, we are finding a lot in common. Teaching methods, the need for student engagement, the need for ways to interact online with our participants—these are universal.
Recently, IconLogic has been teaming up with the certification council for online training, ICCOTP, to offer minicourses based on the curriculum of the full online trainer certification course. These courses are free to school teachers and are being offered at a low price for business trainers. As we all go virtual, let’s find out how we can help each other and share our knowledge.
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