Simple and free tools for online teaching

Simple and free tools for online teaching

By Terry Nisbett

With much of teaching being delivered remotely, teachers are faced with a dizzying number of apps to help them deliver online teaching. Colleagues and websites offer scores of alternative choices for presentations, videos, quizzes and video conferencing. Most of these tools are indeed helpful, but you can use free, simple tools to send information and online lessons to your students.

Use your cell phone to record audio

You can send audio to your students by simple methods; use a recording app such as Easy Voice Recorder; install the app on your cell phone; make your recordings and then save them to Google Drive. You can share or send a link to students.

This is a very easy way of sending audio for your online teaching. The students will have access to the recording and they can play it as many times as they wish. They can pause and return to it and they can rewind to listen to parts of it.

You can use audio to send a lecture. You can use audio to read a story to students. You can also teach pronunciation for foreign language lessons using audio. It is also very useful to give feedback to students about their assignments.

Your cell phone camera

You can make a simple video by using the camera on your cell phone. Use the video function of your camera. You don’t have to fiddle around with software that you may find difficult to use.

This is very useful, especially if you just want to give an explanation for about three-five minutes. If you can put your cell phone on a stand or a tripod, that would help to keep the image steady and would allow you to make gestures if you want to.

If you do not have a stand, just hold your phone steady or lean it against something like a stack of books. When you are done, just stop the video and review it and save it to your Google Drive to share with your students.

Prepare templates

Design your own templates to use for your worksheets and lecture notes. You can choose one design for language classes and other designs for different classes or topics. Choose consistent colours and fonts to make your templates recognisable.

Then each time you have to create a worksheet, you would not have to make a new design from scratch. The templates help you to save time. Students will get familiar with your design and will feel comfortable with the worksheets.

A worksheet design can be simple. You can design these in Word. Make a top and bottom border in an attractive colour. Provide spaces showing where students can write their names.

Use headings in large fonts to give information on the subject area and the instructions to work with the task on the worksheet.

When you are about to save the worksheet you designed, choose “Save As”; then where it says “Format”, use the dropdown menu and choose ‘Word Template” then save. This saves the worksheet as a template so you do not have to start from scratch each time you want to make a worksheet.

You can easily send out your worksheets by email to your students. Another alternative is to save the worksheets on Google Drive and share a link with your students.

For more information, visit or email Terry Nisbett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.