5 Tools for teaching online

There’s so much choice on the internet now, in the world of online teaching, that sometimes it can be hard deciding what’s worth trying out, what’s worth signing up for, what’s worth paying for! Well, here we want to share 5 tools you can use (some free, some paid for) which we think will add value to your online classes and add more skills to your own teaching toolkit.

5. Hangman online

If you’re looking for an interactive warmer or a simple online practice activity, why not try out an online Hangman game? This is a very easy and cool way to play a game with your students online – whether they’re adults or young learners. The great thing about this particular webpage is that you can create your own game by adding in the words that you want your students to practice.

Imagine your students have been practicing words related to sp+orts, just type those words into the online hangman and hit submit! If it’s a group class, you can keep score of who guesses the word first and make it competitive (you can do this by typing the score into the chat function, for example). You can even get the students to go online and create their own game to play against you or the other students – nobody needs an account as it’s completely free – so the only thing they will need to do is know how to share their screen and then start playing!

4. TEDTalks

If you haven’t started using TEDTalks in your online classes yet, then what are you waiting for? These superb videos can make your classes really engaging. Showing your students that as a teacher you know how to bring real-life topics, authentic materials, and interesting videos into the classroom will keep them coming back for more.

Not only are the videos free for you to use, but if you’re really interested in taking it to another level, there are a set of English coursebooks based around them as well. If you’re working for an academy, it might be worth checking to see if they have the books, that way you’ll already have class materials aligned to some TEDtalks, with conversational points, vocabulary, and grammar lessons designed.

But if you want to go it alone, you can! Have a look at all the videos available – you can search in order of topics, length of the video, speaker, etc. There are videos as short as 3 minutes and as long as an hour. You can easily access transcripts or subtitles and adjust the speed to fit one video into different ESL levels.

You can show clips in your class and give the rest for homework. You can try a ´flipped classroom’ style and ask them to watch the video before coming to class. It might also be good to pause videos in some points to ask students for their opinion and seeing if it coincides with the speaker’s points.

However you decide to incorporate them, I’m sure you’ll agree when we say they will make your online classes more engaging and modern – just don’t forget to practice your online techniques of sharing videos and playing them so your students can hear them on their end.

3. Google Classroom

If you’ve got a small group of online students, you may want to consider getting all your classwork organized online so that it’s easily accessible to everyone and keeps all your documents, and the students’ work in one place.

Here in TtMadrid we just love using Google Classroom for our TEFL Courses. It can be a lot of work to start with, but with a little bit of research and a whole lot of watching of videos on the internet, you’ll be able to crack it. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s only for organizations.

That’s not the case at all! Anyone with a Gmail account can use it as a tool. However, if you are using it as part of a schooling education system, then yes, you would have to use the Educators version, which is a subscribed version and far more complex.

But for any other purposes, you’ll be able to use the free version which allows putting together a very cool and useful online classroom. Well worth checking out – just watch a few tutorials on the internet and you’ll have your online classroom set up in no-time.

2. Prezi.com

If you’re prepared to go that extra mile and pay a small (or big depending on your needs) fee, you should most definitely sign up for a Prezi.com account. Prezi has jumped on the bandwagon along with everyone else and updated its offerings to include interactive presentations that can be used with the likes of Zoom and Google Classroom.

Just take a look at the video examples on their home page of how people are using their presentations in their classes – they’re super cool! It might well remind you of the film Minority Report with Tom Cruise! That idea of seeing moving images on the screen in front of your face seemed like such a futuristic idea at the time, but 10 years later, it’s actually happening! Why not check it out?

By using interactive presentations you will WOW your students, and show them that you are using the latest applications to make your classes great. This will most definitely keep your students coming back for more classes with you J.

1. Interactive Phonemic Chart

Have you come across one of these awesome interactive phonemic charts yet? If not, click on the link here and give it a go! It’s a brilliant way to help your students practice their pronunciation. You can use it in class to correct pronunciation errors and also get your students to practice between classes.

One tip to using phonemic charts in class, as a way to correct, is to set up a Google doc or Word doc for example, with a table of two columns – the title the first column ‘The word you mispronounced’, and the second column ‘phonemic spelling’. You then use this to help the student see where their mistake was made and later spell it out using the interactive phonemic chart. By getting your student to listen to the correct way and practice, you’ll be helping them master their English. A simple, but REALLY effective tool for your classes. Well worth a try.

We’ve found that all of these tools add fun and engaging activities to classes, and we are sure they will for you too. Give them a go, and if you like them, and your students like them, then spread the word!

Also, remember that sharing is caring, so be sure to share with us your favorite tools to use in your online ESL classes on our Facebook or Instagram!