What is Microsoft Teams? Microsoft Teams is a chat-based shared workspace for collaborative learning.
Why should I use Microsoft Teams? It’s designed for collaborating on shared documents and integrates with Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
What are the cons of using Microsoft Teams? Users report strongly disliking the Teams user interface and finding it prone to outages. Microsoft Teams is predominantly designed for professional workspaces, so isn’t as geared up for online teaching as other apps.
What is Blackboard? Blackboard is a web-based VLE and LMS.
Why should I use Blackboard? It’s designed for higher education institutions and organizations looking to layer their branding over a pre-built, comprehensive education portal. It offers features like auto-grading and a mobile app.
What are the cons of using Blackboard? Blackboard is a giant in the digital education industry, so it’s quite costly. It wouldn’t be suited to independent or freelance instructors looking for a simple, cost-effective way to deliver a program.
What is Zoom? Zoom is a web conferencing software.
Why should I use Zoom? It’s widely used for live webinars, so it has most of the basic features like a chat box and the ability to share a presentation.
What are the cons of using Zoom? Zoom wasn’t designed for educators, so it doesn’t have the features of a virtual classroom like announcement bulletins or file storage options. It also has a more corporate look and feel, with limited engagement features, so it isn’t best suited for college-age or younger virtual learners.
What is Google Classroom? Google Classroom is a collaboration tool for teachers and students.
Why should I use Google Classroom? It has one of the most straightforward interfaces on the market and works well with Google apps like Docs, Sheets, and Meet. It’s also free for schools that are using Google apps for education.
What are the cons of using Google Classroom? It doesn’t offer much in the way of automated quizzes or chat forums, plus it’s very Google-centric, so it doesn’t integrate well with other apps. If you’re teaching children, parents might also choose to opt out of Gmail account creation.
What is Edmodo? A free virtual learning platform that styles itself as an ‘education network’.
Why should I use Edmodo? Edmodo is all about serving communities, rather than just teachers or students. You’ll find peer-created resources for teacher knowledge sharing, as well as virtual learning tips for parents as well as students.
What are the cons of using Edmodo? There’s no chat function for communicating with a student individually or in a group. Users who are part of multiple groups or communities on Edmodo find the ‘newsfeed’ style interface very crowded and difficult to navigate, and there are limited search options for resources.