Best Tools for Virtual and Distance Learning
Making virtual learning or distance learning work for all students is challenging. You can have all the best tools in place, but without equitable access at home for all your students -- and adequate prep and training for yourself -- it's tough to replicate a traditional, in-person learning experience. This list assumes you've got those problems worked out and are focusing now on how to set up an effective virtual learning environment -- either adapting your existing curriculum, or designing a brand-new one from the ground up.
To help you along, we've grouped the tools according to some key needs teachers have when setting up virtual classrooms. These needs -- communicating and messaging effectively, facilitating discussion, assessing learning, delivering lessons, and more -- are also critical ways teachers can create remote learning experiences that keep students interested and active. Take note that we've also selected only the top two recommendations within each category. In each case, we've chosen tools that aren't just highly rated for learning but also free or cheap, making it easier for teachers to put together a toolkit that works for them. Of course, you'll also want to check them out for yourself. When you do this, we'd recommend taking time to dig into each tool's privacy and safety practices. To help, many of the tools on this list have privacy evaluations displayed next to our learning ratings on the review pages.
For more resources, check out our collection of distance learning templates and downloadables.