Teach from home: Popular remote teaching apps for schools, colleges

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May 11, 2020 2:10 PM

Schools can run live sessions, host courses, send assignments, take attendance and collect fees using this platform by Zoho, the software MNC.

edtech, coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus impact on edtech, e-learning in schools, online education, online education platforms, edtech appsSome are free, and for others one has to pay.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown started, many schools, especially in urban India, have shifted to online delivery of education, using various web conferencing tools. Some are free, and for others one has to pay. We take a look at the major tech tools being used by educational institutes.

DIKSHA: The government’s DIKSHA platform offers teachers, students and parents learning material relevant to the prescribed school syllabus. Teachers have access to aids like lesson plans, worksheets and activities, to create a classroom experience. Students, among other things, can access NCERT books for all classes.

Classroom.Live: It’s a collaborative classroom with interactive whiteboard. Created by Unthinkable Solutions, a software company, Classroom.Live went live on April 10. “It is already being used by over 30,000 students, and is device-agnostic,” said Vipul Sobti, business head, Unthinkable Solutions. He added that while web conferencing platforms are created keeping enterprises in mind, “Classroom.Live is designed around teachers and students, using which teachers can create interactive lessons, record lives sessions, and get attendance report.” Classroom.Live is not free. One offer is monthly unlimited usage for X amount, more suited to schools and colleges. The other is usage based per hour per user, which suits coaching institutes. Sobti, however, didn’t share the X amount.

Zoho Classes: Schools can run live sessions, host courses, send assignments, take attendance and collect fees using this platform by Zoho, the software MNC. Teachers can upload course videos and students can learn at their own pace. Students can also mirror class broadcasts to a big screen such as TV. Zoho is offering a ‘free edition’ for schools with up to 100 students, while bigger schools and colleges can start with this and register for trial licences. Zoho Classes is 100% free for all government schools.

Zoom for Education: Zoom, the communications major, temporarily removed the 40-minute limit on free basic accounts for schools during Covid-19. Its solution, Zoom for Education, enables virtual tutoring, career counselling and mentoring. But since last month’s home ministry advisory that Zoom is not safe, most institutes are reportedly shifting to other platforms.

GoToMeeting: A web-hosted service by LogMeIn, it is an online meeting, sharing and videoconferencing software package. During Covid-19, it is being provided to schools for free for three months.

Other popular apps include Google Hangouts (can be used for video chats with up to 10 people; voice conversations can have 150 participants), Meet Now in Skype (allows users to set up collaboration space and invite both Skype contacts and users who are not on Skype), Google Classroom (it’s a free web service that streamlines the process of sharing files between teachers and students, among other things), Microsoft Teams (the popular meeting platform is free for students and teachers with a valid school email address), etc.

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