Wednesday, 29 April 2015

How to Upgrade Your Online English Lessons

It's official, I'm a geek!  It's hard to explain how excited I am to have finally got around to learning how to create a screencast (screen capture recording).  I found a simple online screen recorder and it is so easy to use.

I would really like to create some simple videos to help new students connect to the platforms that I use in my online lessons, I think it would be easier to send them a How-To video, rather than a list of instructions each time. Then I'd like to create some short lessons for blended learning and for promoting my courses. But first of all, I thought I'd take the opportunity to experiment a little and demonstrate how to use 3 excellent web apps/sites that, in my opinion, can really upgrade the quality of your online English lessons. 

1. RealtimeBoard 

Real-time board is basically a huge canvas that enables you to upload pictures, files and videos and has annotation tools to draw, underline and add text.  It works very effectively as a whiteboard for online lessons, and there's a free version.

I've created a screencast to demonstrate, how I use RealtimeBoard as a whiteboard for my online classes.

2. Classmill 

Classmill is a new platform for 'Curated Learning'.  It's a simple but effective course management system.  It enables you to create a course, add modules to that course and then upload materials, text, links and videos to each module.  Students can access their personal course and all its modules anytime, anywhere.  Classmill is free for all.

I've created a screencast to demonstrate how I use Classmill with my individual students:

3. Off2Class

Off2Class is an ESL lesson plan library; the library currently contains more than 300 ready-made lessons. I've mentioned Off2Class in a previous post, but the latest version of their platform really deserves another shout-out.  The materials have a modern and professional outlay perfect for online lessons. The materials are suitable for both adults and kids and need no preparation.  The latest version of Off2Class also includes notes for teachers, ready-made homework assignments and progress tracking. Off2Class are constantly adding new content and offering tips and advice for teachers on their excellent blog.  Off2Class works very well with Zoom, you simply screen share the Off2Class webpage. 

When you sign up, you receive a 30-day free trial.  You can then purchase a package for as little as US$5.50 per month, which is fantastic value for money.  

I've made a very quick screencast to introduce the Off2Class webpage: 

Happy online teaching!

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