The current trends in education have bolstered formats for communicating as a remote teacher, calling for enhanced mobile learning applications. Professors must be able to reach and be reached by their students without interruption throughout the school year, sometimes on a day-to-day basis as international events have forced education to go partially, if not fully, virtual. Thankfully most teachers in higher education have some experience in online education platforms such as Canvas, Moogle, or Coursera. But in this still evolving and primarily mobile-dependent world, teachers must be able to reach, communicate, and problem-solve with their students through more innovative mobile applications. So which mobile apps are the best leading providers of online learning experiences?
In this article, we will touch on some top rated, highly recommended mobile applications for teachers working in remote environments in 2021. Whether you are searching for WiFi connections, seeking better means of virtual meeting spaces, or trying to get a message synced between devices and apps without interference, this GetEducated article will point you toward the best mobile apps to teach online today.
Best Mobile Apps That Let You Teach Online Wherever, Whenever
Mobile WiFi Connection Apps
The following list is for traveling teachers, those in constant location flux or on vacation who may be unsure of their WiFi access at their future destination. Looking for those pesky bars? Trying to figure out how to sync your devices and trade files between? The following two mobile networking apps are designed for you.
1. Instabridge (Free, Unlimited)
Instabridge is the world’s largest WiFi password sharing community, created by a Swedish company and utilized throughout the entire world. Consider this map-style app when you are in a new city searching for free WiFi, trying to avoid asking baristas for their internet passwords over and over again. This master key is a connection to any available hotspot you didn’t know you could have access to, whether you’re using an Android, IOS, laptop, or iPad. It is also quite useful when traveling to a known location, like a friend’s beach house or cabin. Friends can share private passwords on their Instabridge accounts, choosing who to share with and when to change access codes. With this kind of easy encryption, you might consider working further and further from home than ever before!
2. PdaNet+ (Free Limited Mode / $7.95 Unlimited)
PdaNet+, once known as FoxFi, is a WiFi tethering application available primarily to Android 4.1 and up users. If there is no root access to the internet where you are going, you can make your own WiFi connection! This particular ad hoc networking app can work in three different modes:
- By also utilizing the separate FoxFi app, you can work with the Hotspot feature. This is considered the older operation of PdaNet+, with metered hotspot usage which the app cannot currently avoid (aka, it could be much slower than you initially anticipate).
- The USB mode of this app allows for direct connection to a Windows or Mac device via a cable. This method now includes a “WiFi Share” feature increasing your ability to utilize Windows to share the internet with other devices!
- Bluetooth mode is another method of connection, though the creators of the PdaNet+ app encourage users to utilize WiFi Direct instead. WiFi Direct is extremely useful for high-speed, multimedia file transfers.
The PdaNet+ app will be most useful to those with an Android device that prompts a call to the phone’s carrier for assistance when trying to turn on the hotspot feature, or those with a metered hotspot usage. While it may only take minutes to download and set up this mobile app to teach online, it is a good idea to take time before a trip and figure out which of the three modes above flow well with your combination of devices.
Mobile Dictation Apps
Mobile dictation apps are helpful for teachers who plan on the go. Keep in touch with your students by providing direct daily or weekly recorded announcements, or review your own dictated notes and lesson plans with ease between your devices.
3. Dragon Anywhere: Dictate Now ($14.99/month)
Dictation apps can be found on any smartphone today but, much like the texting feature autocorrect, the accuracy rate is average at best. The mobile app Dragon by Nuance accurately scribes your dictation at a rate of 99%. Think that’s smart? Dragon can also be trained to how you speak through features such as a “Correction Menu”, voice editing and formatting. The Dragon Anywhere app is considered one of the best mobile apps for teaching online because it provides a platform for detailed assessment of student work, is a faster method of creating and compiling lesson plans, syllabi, and other lists, and allows for more effective management of communication.
4. Evernote (Free/$7.99 a month Premium/$14.99 a month Business)
On the move, with no time to sit and take notes? Here’s where Evernote can help. With the ability to sync up to two devices (more if you decide to go premium), this mobile application for teachers makes it easy to collect ideas, research, and notes anywhere! While the primary use of the app is to record and file audio, increasing productivity for dictating lectures, and lesson plans, it can also be used to scan documents, save web pages, and apply rich formatting to your notes. An extra interesting feature of this mobile app for teaching online is the ability to connect to other apps! Consider clipping notes from Slack into Evernote or sharing information to collaborate and organize on Microsoft Teams. Integrating your email with this app can improve workflow, and keep you efficient while on the go. No one can deny that instant email access is essential for the best mobile applications for teaching online.
Mobile Meeting Apps – Synchronous & Asynchronous
Are you starting to sense a theme? Stay connected with your classroom remotely by hosting live or recorded sessions now available through a variety of online formats since a major shift to online learning in 2020.
5. Google Hangouts (Free)
Google Hangouts and Google Meet are perfectly accessible tools for directly connecting online with students. They not only let you create free video conferences for up to 10 people, they also record sessions via YouTube and turn conversations into archived presentations for other students and later viewings. While in the past the recording feature has been a part of the Enterprise GSuite package, it is currently free for schools due to the tidal conversion to virtual learning because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Google Hangouts is one of the best mobile apps for online teaching because you can sync chats across all of your devices, keep records of your conversations, and stay connected with your students whenever and wherever possible.
6. ZOOM Cloud Meetings (Free)
ZOOM is one of the best mobile apps for teaching online that almost every business, group of friends, or classroom utilizes. This on-the-scene high-speed app is available for free to those interested in video conferences of up to 100 people for 40-minute periods of time, and unlimited one-on-one video meetings. Local recording is available in the free version of the app so that you can record your video conference to upload onto a different platform (see, “I’m Not A Cat”). The mobile app is currently only available to both iPhone and Android users, making it an incredibly accessible tool to teachers providing meetings and lectures, and students working collaboratively on projects and assignments.
7. Flipgrid ($65/annual)
A highly accessible and interesting mobile app for teaching online is Flipgrid. This video discussion application allows for an abundance of creativity in classroom discussions, presentations, and more. The primary mission of the mobile teaching app is to engage your community with discussion topics which are answered with short video “stories” from your audience. It is simple to provide your students with feedback to their presentations, inspire a collaborative class flow, and make the most of working through discussion topics and problems remotely with this best app for online learning.
Download The Best Apps for Online Learning
Online degrees, classes, and connections are on the rise in the world of education. Even before the international events of Covid-19, the percentage of students graduating with an online degree from a college or university was at 46%. There is no denying that distance learning, whether it is fully online or hybrid, is more affordable and accessible to adult students. Naturally, the call for educators who can successfully operate and sustain a positive online learning environment is also on the rise. Make yourself available from any location, set up a classroom where you can foster collaborative learning, and stay effectively organized! Step into the future of teaching online by staying ahead of the curve and downloading the best mobile applications for online learning in 2021.