Researching different platforms

Let’s now turn our attention to some specific platforms that teachers can use to deliver live online lessons. In this step you are going to look at, and do some research on, three different platforms that teachers use so that you can compare them. We hope that this task will help you to choose a platform you’ll be able to use to teach your students online.

Task

Here are three platforms that an online English teacher might use.

  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • WebRoom
  • The first step to choosing a platform is to read about its features so that you can decide whether or not it’s worth trying out. Click on the links above to visit each platform’s website. Read about the features of each platform. Find answers to the questions below and compare each platform.

    • Is the platform free, or does it require a subscription/payment?
    • Do you have to register and sign in? Do your students?
    • Can it be used on all browsers and most devices?
    • Can you and your students see each other?
    • Is there a (interactive) whiteboard?
    • Is it possible to share your screen?
    • Is there a chat feature?
    • Are there breakout rooms for pair/group work?
    • Is there a help section with tutorials to help you understand how to use the platform?

    When you’ve completed your research, do this poll so we can see the most popular platform among everyone participating on this course. You can view the results of the poll here.

    Optional task

    Choose one of the platforms you reviewed in Step 1 and try it out. You can use the video tutorials at the links below to help you understand how to use it although note that your view of the tool may be slightly different depending on the device you’re using to access it. If possible, ask a colleague, friend or family member to be your ‘student’ and see how the different features work.

  • Skype tutorial
  • Zoom tutorial
  • WebRoom tutorial
  • Reflect and share

    Which of the three platforms do you think is the best for your online lessons? Why have you chosen this platform? Share your reasons in the comments.

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    This article is from the free online course:

    Teaching English Online

    Cambridge Assessment English