5 free apps and resources to get you started with online classes

Sol Tovar
4 min readMar 22, 2020

As COVID-19 cases are on the rise, more and more schools are closing their doors. Most primary and secondary schools, as well as universities have moved onto offering online classes. But, if you are a private tutor, your students have probably just cancelled your classes and you are waiting for all this to be over.

Now, there is a little problem: if you are not working, who is going to pay the bills? Do not worry, you can continue teaching online. Even if you do not have all the resources a whole school or university has, you can still continue teaching from home. Here are some free resources to get you started:

1. Google Classroom (Web, Android, iOS)

Virtual Learning Environments are the core of Online Classes. They are the place where all the resources, activities, and communications of a course can be found. Google Classroom is a great tool, considering that nowadays almost everyone has, if not a Gmail account, a Gsuite account. Classroom may not be as flashy as other VLEs but it works well and its user-friendly interface as well as its Google Drive integration and ability to work collaboratively make it a strong contendant against all other options.

You can access Google Classroom at: classroom.google.com

2. ClassDojo (Web, Android, iOS)

If you’re teaching younger children, then ClassDojo is a much better option for you. The design is kid-friendly and it encourages parents to take a more active role. You will love all the resources that are available on the site! ClassDojo also has some tools that you can use in the classroom, so it is a great option for both online and on-site classes.

Check out ClassDojo at classdojo.com

3. OpenBoard (Windows, macOS and Linux)

Another crucial tool you need when teaching online is a whiteboard (or blackboard) where you can present your students with the content of the class and take notes or write down anything that comes up during the class. OpenBoard works best with a graphic tablet or a touch screen with a stylus, however you can also use it with your mouse and keyboard.

Download OpenBoard at openboard.ch

4. Skype (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)

Skype is every online teacher’s first love. Sure, other programmes can do much more than Skype, but it still has its charm. One of the greatest advantages of Skype is that it comes already installed in most Windows computers, which is by far the most widespread Operating System. Skype lets you videochat with up to 50 users at the same time, which is more than enough for an ordinary online lesson.

You can download Skype at skype.com

5. Padlet (Web, Android, iOS)

Padlet is a great tool to work collaboratively in groups. It works as an online virtual “bulletin” board. Both students and teachers can collaborate, and use Padlet as a brainstorming wall at the beginning of the class or as a reflection tool at the end of the class. Students can write and upload audio, images, and video. When you create a Padlet you can moderate posts, remove posts, and manage the board.

Take a look at it at padlet.com

I hope this article helped you find a way to continue working during this Coronavirus crisis. If you still have some doubts about how to use these tools, leave a comment below and I will be happy to help!

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Sol Tovar

Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Profesora de Español como Lengua Extranjera. Linguistics Enthusiast.