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6 Online Teaching Zoom Free Alternatives for Virtual Classroom Learning

zoom virtual teaching alternative

In the era of data security, it’s important that you’re not the missing link in your business’s chain. You don’t want a hacker accessing yours or your student private data through a security flaw in a Zoom virtual English lesson. 

 

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Are you an online teacher looking for Zoom free alternatives for running your virtual classroom? Perhaps you’re considering embarking on a career as an online TEFL teacher, and you’re exploring top online teaching tools.

While Zoom quickly propelled into the public eye, it has been absorbed into online teaching quicker than you can say ‘security issues’. The problem here is that, not only does Zoom have some glaring security flaws, it’s also started to charge for certain aspects of its service.

For English teachers scouting out a robust online classroom software, Zoom isn’t all that anyway. The interactive features leave a lot to be desired and you can’t record any lessons.

Luckily, there are plenty of premier online virtual classroom softwares that offer an engaging experience with a range of interactive online learning tools.

Stretching beyond the simple camera and audio tech, read on for amazing online classroom environments and virtual meeting softwares with these six Zoom free alternatives.

 

Why Do Online Teachers Need Zoom Free Alternatives for Virtual Classroom Learning?

 

Zoom Limits Time – or you pay.

While Zoom started out as a free tool, the virtual meeting tool now limits group meetings to 40 minutes. 

For online TEFL teachers offering hour-long English classes to groups, this makes Zoom an untenable option as a free online teaching tool.

Instead, choose a free online classroom tool which allows you to have meetings for longer than an hour without cost.

Zoom Has Security Concerns 

In the era of data security, it’s important that you’re not the missing link in your business’s chain. You don’t want a hacker accessing yours or your student private data through a security flaw in a Zoom virtual English lesson. 

Zoom has highly questionable security problems. Protect yourself against Zoom hackers by using an alternative virtual classroom learning tool for free.

 

Zoom Free Alternatives for Online Teachers: #1 – Google Classroom

 

google classroom online teacher zoom free alternative

 

Google always has a slick range of tools and its classroom is no different. Google Classroom is a full suite of virtual classroom tools to manage, share, and review educational materials.

 

Pros of Google Classroom
  • Teachers and student can share files easily
  • Teachers can verify submission times 
  • Teachers and students have access to Google Docs, Sheets, etc to create work
Cons of Google Classroom
  • Online Chinese students can’t access Google
  • Teachers can’t record audio or video lessons
  • There’s no quick way to ask the class a poll to get feedback or ask a question

 

Zoom Free Alternatives for Online Teachers: #2 – Mozilla Hubs

 

mozilla hubs online teacher zoom free alternative

 

Mozilla Hubs is a highly interactive virtual reality classroom. Students can explore the three-dimensional environment from their desktop, smart devices, or virtual reality headset. 

Pros of Mozilla Hubs
  • The imaginative 3D graphic environments are highly interactive and engaging – especially for a younger audience
  • The software is packed with tools, such as a pen and camera to take notes and photos insider the hub
  • Teachers and students can communicate via chat and audio
  • No time limits for sessions
Cons of Mozilla Hubs
  • A little childish for older students
  • It can be distracting to students

 

Zoom Free Alternatives for Online Teachers: #3 – Jitsi-Meet

 

Jitsi-meet online classroom software tefl zoom free alternative

 

Jitsi-Meet is a top open-source Zoom free alternative for TEFL teachers offering group virtual classroom learning. The screen splits to make it easy to see all attendees, while users have audio and video via which to communicate.

Pros of Jitsi-Meet
  • Has a similar feel to Zoom, making it intuitive to use for students
  • It can be used on desktop and smart devices
  • There is a great whiteboard feature and it integrates with a peer document editing tool
  • If bandwidth is low, Jitsi-Meet automatically reduces image quality. This is ideal for TEFL teachers with students in places with internet connectivity issues or TEFL teachers on-the-go.
Cons of Jitsi-Meet
  • There aren’t any interactive features beyond the whiteboard, making it more suitable for older students
  • The screen splits with every user, making it hard to keep track of very big groups.

 

Zoom Free Alternatives for Online Teachers: #4 – Skype for Business

Skype is a legacy tool that most people know how to use. It’s a trusty steed and generally has great connection. The business version offers a few extra tools and has a free plan.

Pros of Skype for Business
  • Students can use the chat, video and audio to connect with teachers
  • Teachers can record both video and audio
  • If the connection is bad, users can flip to a real international phone call for a low price
  • The service is available worldwide
  • The document sharing system is good for distributing teaching  resources and EFL learning activities
Cons of Skype for Business
  • There’s no whiteboard or interactive tools
  • There can be feedback on the line sometimes

 

Zoom Free Alternatives for Online Teachers: #5 – Whereby

 

whereby online teaching meeting software zoom free alternative

Whereby is a beautiful, sleek video conferencing software that’s great for small online classrooms. Enabling 4 participants on the free plan, users can enjoy chat, video, audio, and screenshare.

Pros of Whereby
  • Simple, intuitive interface makes it easy for all ages to use
  • Teachers can create and lock rooms for private lessons
  • Screen sharing is very useful and can be used as a whiteboard tool
Cons of Whereby
  • Only 4 people to a class for the free platform
  • No document sharing

 

Zoom Free Alternatives for Online Teachers: #6 – BigBlueButton

Perhaps one of the most comprehensive virtual classroom learning softwares, BigBlueButton is an amazing TEFL teaching aid. A little tricky to install, once it’s up and running, you’ll have a whole library of online teaching tools to engage your TEFL students.

Pros of BigBlueButton
  • Incredible number of interactive features, including whiteboard, chat, audio, webcam, emoji, screen sharing, pollsm, breakout rooms, etc.
  • The interface is super simple to navigate
  • There isn’t a restriction on the number of people per session
Cons of BigBlueButton
  • No mobile app, only a desktop applications
  • Sessions are restricted to 60 minutes
  • Teachers can’t record sessions
  • The software can slow down a little with lots of participants.

 

BONUS – Zoom Free Alternatives for Online Teachers: #7 – Houseparty

Houseparty is a little more informal but works a great way to offer extra conversational classes, especially with older students.

Pros of Houseparty
  • It’s easy to chat informally using the chat function and the video
  • There are game to play inside the application for more interactive learning
  • It’s easy to record sessions
Cons of Houseparty
  • Notifications go off all the time, even when you’re not using the app
  • People can jump into rooms that aren’t locked

To Sum Up…

As a TEFL teacher, getting the right virtual classroom suite is essential to setting yourself up for success. There’s nothing worse than paying top dollar for a virtual classroom only to find it’s slow, with poor features, and a bunch of security flaws.

 

Instead, try out these six free Zoom alternatives. Depending on your requirements, you’ll find tools for group sessions, one-to-one English lessons, interactive work, document sharing, screen-sharing, and so on.

 

Having the best virtual classroom tool is key to keeping online students engaged, as is a copy of the TEFLpros Activity Book. Grab yours today to boost engagement in your classroom.

 

If you enjoy the handy tips and tools we’re dishing out, recommend us to others! We’re looking for bloggers and influencers to spread TEFLPros’ word. If you’d like to partner with us as an affiliate, give us a shout! Contact us today!

 

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