Online Classrooms are changing the ways we learn. It doesn’t matter anymore where you live. If you really want to learn something, you can always join a live class and learn directly from the best teachers across the world – in the virtual world.
All you need is an appropriate electronic gadget (such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop) and an Internet connection!
Best Apps and Sites for Learning
Today, there are free as well as paid sites to learn anything you want. Here are some of the best websites and apps to pick up skills in these areas:
Top 5 Online Resources to learn Languages
- Duolingo- A free-to-use site and app allows users to read, write, listen, and speak as many as ten languages. The drills are user-friendly and you get points and bonuses for completing lessons.
- Living Language – It offers free resources as well as paid content (which include e-tutoring with native speakers, games, and puzzles) to learn as many as 20 languages. You can work on vocabulary and grammar here, listen to audio conversations, and read through cultural notes.
- Livemocha – Premium services on the site include virtual classes, interacting with native speakers, and structured lessons to master reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in more than 35 languages! You can earn credits by tutoring other clients, editing their work in your native language, and offering feedback to them on their audio recordings – and use it to access its services.
- Memrise – Mnemonic flashcards that use graphics and humor to help you learn new words in another language can be found here. It is a user-generated site and offers thousands of free courses and mems in a wide range of languages. Great for visual learners.
- Foreign Services Institute – Designed by professional linguists, the site seems simple but has extensive features. Free materials available here are of highest quality. You can learn 45+ languages here.
Top 5 Online Resources to learn Math
- ALEKS – This web-based assessment and learning system by McGraw-Hill uses adaptive teaching methods to teach students on topics in which they need to work. It meant for students from Grades 3 to 12.
- Math TV – Access a number of Math videos that explain mathematical concepts in great detail and quite easily. Just browse the videos available for each topic and start learning.
- Khan Academy – Meant for students from K-12, this is a mission to provide free, world-class to all students worldwide. There are personalized learning resources, video learning segments, and practice activities available for students of all ages.
- Math’s Fun – Teachers and educators across the world contribute a number of Math lessons and activities and make the subject fun and enjoyable.
- Paul’s Online Math Notes – Paul Dawkins from Lamar University has shared his interactive textbook on Calculus online – for free. It has comprehensive precalculus and algebra sections and tons of examples with complete solutions.
Top 5 Online Resources for Creative People
- Comics for Beginners –Palle Schmidt offers you a free site on how to write and draw comics. It discusses everything from idea generation to character design to writing for comics to layouts and sketching.
- edX – The site offers a wide range of Design, Art & Culture courses for free. However, they have the start and end dates and have to be completed within the allotted time.
- Instructables – Find the detailed, photographed instructions on unique DIY (do-it-yourself) projects that range from building your own Halloween costume to your own security camera using a 3D printer.
- CreativeLive – It offers both free and paid classes on a range of interest areas such as art/design, crafts, photo/video, audio, and money/life.
- Treehouse – If you are into web designing and web development, this is the site for you. You can learn programming languages like PHP, CSS, WordPress, HTML, Ruby, and all about developing mobile apps here. If you are looking for genuine programming assignment helpwhich can help you learn the basics, try this one.
Top 5 Online Resources for Science People
- Understanding Science – This is a UC Berkeley’s website which is an excellent resource for all science teachers. Here, you will find a number of case studies of scientific discoveries as well as lesson plans for every grade level.
- Stellarium – Turn your computer into an instant planetarium through this website. Just input your location and you’ll be able to explore the sky outside and see the stars, planets, constellations, and nebulae up there.
- NASA Education – The ultimate learning resource for students of all grade levels (from the Kindergarten to university level), NASA offers excellent videos, lesson plans and classroom activities for a wide range of science subjects.
- Edheads – Find engaging web simulations and educational games for kids here. Simple and compound machines and simulated surgical procedures are some of the things you can find here.
- Project Noah – A great platform to share information about biodiversity, Project Noah allows kids to conduct collaborative missions across the globe, collect and share wildlife observations, and do hands-on fieldwork.
The interactive web tools allow the teachers and students to communicate with each other in several ways – promising better student engagement in class.
Online lesson plans, homework assignments, and tests can also be distributed, collected, and evaluated with the help of digital tools.
The community message boards are effective ways of instant information exchange while internal emails allow students and teachers to communicate privately if required.
There are technologies that allow you to ask or answer questions and participate in group discussions in the online class – just like we do in a traditional classroom setup.
Academic Support Tools
Today, online tutoring websites are increasingly becoming popular – and many of them use advanced user-friend education management systems to provide the best study resources to their teachers and students. These include online videos, animations, and other forms of multimedia study material to explore topics better.
Students can access the lessons they have missed any time – from anywhere. It means that they have no reason to bunk classes anymore. There are tools that allow the teachers and parents to track students’ progress in a particular lesson and tweak the lesson plans to help them better.
Students can also collaborate as a team online to work on group projects or participate in clubs and activities.
Some of the best online tools to enrich school and college learning are:
- Mendeley – If you are a research scholar, you must use some sort of citation management software into your workflow. I recommend Mendeley but you may try Endnote, Zotero, and Papers and see which one suits you best. Mendeley generates bibliographies automatically, helps you collaborate with other researchers online, and import papers from other research software.
- Evernote – It means ‘Electric Brain’ in Chinese – and that’s what it is. This giant electronic notebook stores everything for you online and sync stuff across the devices. Where it’s your study notes, recipes, research-related news stories, or photos from your phone – you can keep everything here.
- Freedom – For distracted students, Freedom is a boon. It locks you out of the Internet for a designated period of time. If you need the net to do research, use Anti-Social – which keeps you out of the distracting sites only.
- Producteev – An app to increase your productivity, it assigns tasks to teammates, allows you to add due dates and notes, track the progress of tasks that have been assigned, and measure the results of the project.
- Grammarly – The online writing assistance and plagiarism tools by Grammarly can help you improve your grammar and develop a professional writing style. It is trusted by over 600 universities. 99% of students who used Grammarly reported an improvement in their writing grades.
Virtual and Mixed Reality Technologies in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
We are already using 3D Virtual Tours that allow anyone to check out monuments and historical buildings across the world – without ever visiting there. This can be a great tool for History students or students of Cultural Studies.
Now, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality applications can go a long way in stimulating the students to ‘want’ to learn about the topics being taught in class.
For example, VRLE (Virtual Reality Learning Environment) is an emerging trend in the field of online education. Here, students from across the world use cloud-based immersive VRLE environments to connect with remote instructors using high-speed networks. There is a Desktop mode – as well as a VR mode that uses head-mounted display devices like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.