Video conferencing tools hold immense potential in their capacity to captivate audiences through vibrant visuals, interactive elements, and real-time communication. Leading the pack in the realm of free tools are popular options such as Microsoft Teams and Skype.
These platforms are user-friendly, with a myriad of robust features that are ideal for facilitating online meetings and organizing seminars. However, for those seeking to go a step further with more advanced capabilities, the tools outlined below should undoubtedly pique your interest.
This selection comprises premium software that schools, universities, and individuals alike can employ for hosting formal online conferences, webinars, and seminars. These tools provide a wealth of powerful features, from document uploading and slide sharing to web co-browsing, creating a comprehensive toolkit for e-conferencing excellence.
[Related: Free Clipart for Teachers]
Video conferencing tips for teachers
Here are some useful tips for making the most of video conferencing in an educational setting:
- Test Your Technology: Ensure your video conferencing platform, internet connection, audio, and video are working properly before starting a class or meeting.
- Set Ground Rules: Clearly communicate expectations to your students regarding when to arrive, when and how to ask questions, muting microphones when not speaking, and appropriate behavior during the conference.
- Prepare and Share an Agenda: Provide your students with a clear plan for what will be covered during the video conference. This can help them prepare questions and engage more effectively.
- Encourage Participation: Use interactive features like polls, breakout rooms, and the chat function to encourage student participation. Ask questions and give students opportunities to contribute to the discussion.
- Use Visual Aids: Incorporating slides, images, or videos can make the content more engaging and help reinforce key points.
- Record the Session: With the consent of all participants, record your session so that students can revisit the material at their own pace later.
- Provide Time for Breaks: During long sessions, schedule short breaks for students to rest, stretch, or refresh. This can help maintain focus and engagement.
- Respect Privacy: Be mindful of privacy concerns. Not all students may be comfortable with showing their homes in the background. Encourage the use of virtual backgrounds if your platform allows.
- Be Patient and Flexible: Not everyone may be comfortable with technology, and there can be unanticipated technical issues. Be patient and maintain a flexible attitude.
- Check in with Your Students: Regularly check in with your students to see how they are coping and to gather feedback about what is working or not working for them in the video conferencing environment.
Video conferencing tools for teachers
Here some of the best video conferencing tools I recommend for teachers:
Adobe Connect web conferencing software offers immersive online meeting experiences from small group collaboration to large scale webinars. All the benefits of Adobe Connect Meetings are included with Adobe Connect Webinars and Adobe Connect Learning.
Blackboard is another excellent online conferencing software. It supports a modern workplace with two-way VoIP, multi-point video, built-in phone conferencing, interactive whiteboard, desktop sharing, and more. Some of the features it provides include:
- Users can connect to a conferencing session anytime with an intuitive UI and through VoIP or built-in phone conferencing.
- Enable users to join any web conference from an iPhone, iPad, or Android device for a fully-featured collaborative experience.
- Provide presence and instant messaging tools so colleagues can see who’s online and available for collaboration and mentoring.
- Add podcasts, voice presentations, and recorded feedback to make asynchronous training sessions livelier and more engaging.
3. Zoho Meeting
Part of the Zoho suite of applications, Zoho Meeting provides web conferencing and webinar capabilities. It offers robust security measures and is easy to use.
4. Cisco Webex
A longstanding name in the video conferencing industry, Webex provides video meetings, messaging, and file sharing. It offers a generous free plan with up to 100 participants and no time limit, making it a good choice for schools and non-profits.
Part of Microsoft 365 suite, Teams is a communication platform with a strong focus on collaboration, enabling video conferencing, direct messaging, and file sharing. It’s well integrated with other Microsoft apps, making it an excellent choice for workplaces already using Microsoft 365.
This platform has become synonymous with video conferencing in recent years. It allows for video meetings, webinars, and provides features like screen sharing, meeting recording, and virtual backgrounds. Free usage limits meetings to 40 minutes.
BlueJeans offers video, audio, and web conferencing with collaboration tools. Unique features include Dolby-powered audio for clear sound, integrations with productivity tools, and smart meetings with automated meeting transcriptions.
AnyMeeting offers free and low-cost web conferencing, video conferencing, conference call and webinar services . Using Anymeeting you can meet up with up to 200 participants, create custom registration forms, send email invitations to your participants, hold private or public webinars, share anything on your screen, upload and share PowerPoint and PDFs and many more.
GoToMeeting enables you to host online meetings and video conferences. Some of its features include: share screens with others, your attendees can also help and and present their screens, recording and share your meetings, and many more.