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Essential Tech for Teachers: Tools for Online Course Creation

Transitioning to teaching online courses opens doors for global reach and passive income. But effectively engaging at-home students through a computer screen requires utilizing modern teaching tech and digital tools strategically built for remote instruction.

This guide will cover the essential technologies, platforms, and software every online teacher and course creator needs in their toolkit to produce professional, dynamic digital learning experiences. Follow this blueprint to equip your virtual classroom.

Why Teaching Tech Matters

Thoughtfully incorporating the right online teaching tools:

Enhances Student Engagement

Interactive features like polls, quizzes, and digital worksheets generate active learning far beyond passively watching a lecture video.

Caters to Diverse Learning Styles

Utilizing video, audio, text, and imagery together allows different learners to absorb concepts effectively in formats that connect with their individual brains.

Improves Production Quality

Professional lighting, mics, and cameras elevate the learning experience and justify premium course pricing to students.

Boosts Authority and Trust

A well-designed digital classroom conveys technical skill and teaching dedication. This builds confidence in your abilities as an expert instructor worth investing in.

Enables Seamless Experiences

Minimizing tech glitches through proven software keeps students focused on learning rather than troubleshooting tech issues.

Incorporating the right instructional technology transforms online education. Let’s examine the essential tools every virtual teacher needs.

Course Creation: Video Production Gear

High-quality video content is foundational for online courses. Invest in key gear:

HD Webcam

A 1080p webcam like the Logitech C920 provides professional sharpness and image quality for course videos educators will replay.

Dedicated Microphone

A desktop USB mic from Blue or Shure captures professional studio-quality audio preventing tinny sound. Clear audio is crucial.

Green Screen

Optional green screens enable overlaying custom virtual backgrounds behind instructors on video without extensive room setup. Portability allows teaching from anywhere.

Lighting Kits

Dedicated ring lights and softbox lighting kits prevent grainy, dim videos and convey production excellence worth paying for. Well-lit teachers look remarkable.

Teleprompter

Sliding teleprompter glass sheets allow instructors to read scripts and bullet points discreetly while seamlessly maintaining eye contact with the lens for polished delivery.

Treat course videos like television productions. The more you invest in high-caliber video gear, the quicker students will enroll.

Media Creation: Graphic Design Tools

Engaging imagery and designed media enhance online course materials. Top programs include:

Canva

Intuitive graphic design platform with drag and drop templates for creating social posts, Zoom backgrounds, digital workbooks, and marketing assets quickly without prior design expertise.

Adobe Creative Suite

Industry-leading design programs like Illustrator for image creation, Premiere for video editing, and Photoshop for manipulation provide unmatched versatility for all multimedia.

Snappa

Affordable graphic design tool for crafting social media posts, banners, ads and course imagery through an easy browser interface. Offers royalty-free stock photos.

Spark Post

Handy graphic design web app optimized for easily creating social posts, stories, and ads in a few clicks through mobile or desktop.

Genially

Interactive content platform for developing animated infographics, presentations, quizzes and video lessons that engage online learners.

Invest time mastering design programs that allow crafting all the visual digital course materials technology makes possible.

Presentation Tools: Slide Software

Slide-based lessons remain effective for online visual instruction. Top platforms include:

PowerPoint

The standard for presentation software allows developing intricate slides integrating media and animations that smoothly translate from in-person to virtual teaching.

Visme

Functional browser-based visual presentation builder and graphic design tool. Offers templates and integrations optimized for presentations that Inform, educate or persuade.

Prezi

Cloud-based presentation software focused on visual storytelling through flexible non-linear canvases, graphic zooming and bold imagery that grabs modern audience attention.

Google Slides

Free and intuitive slideshow tool right within Google Drive. Easy cloud collaboration and built-in image/video integration. Especially great for schools already using Google services.

Beautiful.AI

Fast presentation builder for busy teachers offering quick customization of fully-designed slides through an easy drag-and-drop interface requiring no design experience.

Test different software to find the best fit for your design style and capabilities. Leverage technology to create learnings experience as dynamic as in-person lectures.

Screencasting Tools: Demo Video Software

Demo videos allow modeling processes visually step-by-step. Top picks include:

Loom

Simple screen recording app allowing teachers to capture their screen, camera, and audio simultaneously to create quick video walkthroughs and tutorials.

Screencastify

Chrome extension optimized for capturing browser sessions, tabs, and screens to record video demonstrations of online activities. Perfect for software tutorials.

Screenflow

High-end video editing software with robust screen recording and editing capabilities for engineering professional on-screen demonstrations from start to finish.

Camtasia

User-friendly program specialized for recording, editing, and publishing top-notch software demos and tutorial videos, potentially with added instructor webcam video.

Icecream Apps

Suite of light yet powerful screencasting programs for easily capturing and annotating screen activity then exporting tutorials viewable across any device.

Invest time mastering design programs that allow crafting all the visual digital course materials technology makes possible.

Interactive Content: Forms and Worksheets

Forms, worksheets and digital templates allow hands-on practice applying concepts. Top options:

Google Forms

Free survey, questionnaire, and data collection forms with templates. Ideal for quick tests, self-reflection prompts, and response gathering seamlessly integrated with Google Classroom.

Microsoft Forms

Survey creation and data collection forms software with templates. Enterprise features like data analysis for classroom insights. Integrates with Office 365.

JotForm

Powerful form builder for interactive quizzes, sign-ups, evaluations and assessments with full analytics. Higher response limits than free form builders.

Sheetgo

Turns Google Sheets into interactive worksheets usable by students on any device for exercises like fill-in-the-blank vocabulary, math problems, Q&A worksheets or graphic organizers that teachers can review instantly.

Flippity

Transforms Google Sheets intoflashcards, practice quizzes, memory games, random name/number generators, and other learning aids perfect for personalizing review.

Digital interactivity and worksheets keep learners engaged while generating instructive data teachers can analyze.

Note Taking: Collaborative Docs

Collaborative documents allow interactive group projects and knowledge sharing. Top picks:

Google Docs

Google’s real-time collaborative word processing software centralizes assignment creation/submission seamlessly through cloud access and editing with built-in commenting.

Microsoft Word Online

Real-time co-editing functionality in Word Online allows multiple students jointly contributing to group documents and projects by simply sharing cloud links.

Notion

All-in-one customizable workspace for notes, databases, wikis and lists that facilitates unity collaboration great for class teams and large projects.

Dropbox Paper

Robust freeform collaborative document creation hub great for teams brainstorming together with features like commenting, assigned due dates, and document version history records.

Coda

Powerful doc collaboration platform providing flexible canvases to manage class knowledge together through custom databases, wikis, timelines, and free-form notes.

Leverage the cloud to move group work out of physical classrooms into interactive virtual environments accessible anywhere.

Video Calls: Web Conferencing Software

Virtual video meetings enable live classes and office hours. Leading options:

Zoom

Top video meeting platform now offering robust educator-centric tools like breakout rooms, private chat, collaborative whiteboards, and secure exam monitoring protections.

Google Meet

Simple free video meeting built into Google’s suite. Easy push scheduling through Google Calendar. Key features like screen sharing and call recording.

Skype

Longstanding video chat tool now with useful capabilities for distance instruction like screen sharing and call transcription with translations.

Whereby

Intuitive video meeting software prioritizing simplicity the replicates fluidity of in-person conversations through seamless cross-device transitions and inviting custom virtual environments.

Cisco Webex

Enterprise video meeting solution focused on convenience through browser integration and flexible cross-platform options. Education pricing available.

Reliable video meeting platforms enable engaging real-time class sessions and managing virtual office hours. Comparison test leading options.

Course Hosting Platforms: Virtual Classrooms

Robust course hosting platforms centralize teaching technology, content, and communication. Top LMS options:

Teachable

Very popular platform for selling online courses with beautiful templates, marketing tools, analytics and apps to run an online academy.

Thinkific

Intuitive course platform focused on student success, content marketing, and community engagement tools for selling online courses.

Canvas

Cloud-based LMS used by schools and universities to manage digital classrooms, push assignments, track grades, moderate discussions and handle course workflow.

LearnWorlds

3D virtual classroom environment combined with course authoring tools focused on gamification, VR learning and experiential lessons.

TalentLMS

Cloud LMS specialized for continuing ed and corporate eLearning compliance with learner management tools like skills gap analysis and certification tracking.

Carefully evaluate the platform ecosystems against your specific course needs and preferences. Most offer free trials to test drive.

Email Marketing: Student Communication

Email keeps instructors connected with at-home learners through:

Mailchimp

Leading email marketing platform offering segmentation, automation and designs perfect for sending class updates, reminders and course announcements.

Sendinblue

Affordable all-in-one email marketing service for engaging students through beautiful newsletter campaigns and transactional educational emails like assignment feedback.

MailerLite

Lightweight yet robust email marketing solution ideal for teachers sending one-off course emails, announcements, or recruiting opt-ins for an email list of students/parents.

Omnisend

Powerful email and SMS marketing platform built for ecommerce but equally useful for engaging students through personalized behavioral messaging that moves them to action.

CM Commerce

Email marketing platform optimized specifically around maximizing student engagement from initial registration through graduation and driving conversion throughout the enrollment funnel.

Regular digital communication keeps students engaged between lessons while providing teachers invaluable analytics.

Content Libraries: Media Storage

Centralized content libraries keep lesson media organized for easy accessibility. Top picks include:

Google Drive

Cloud document storage seamlessly integrated across Google’s suite of creation tools like Docs, Sheets, Slides. Useful for easily sharing materials.

Dropbox

Leading cloud storage solution for syncing course media files across devices while enabling sharing links to lesson material distribute via email or LMS links.

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive integrates storage directly into Microsoft Office enabling easy saving/sharing of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint lesson materials.

Box

Robust content management features like metadata tagging make finding specific files like lesson videos fast. Useful permissions settings and collaboration options.

YouTube

Posting unlisted or private lesson videos to YouTube centralizes clips on a shareable platform accessible across all devices for students watching on-demand.

Reliable backends storing course materials safeguard key class content while enabling flexible access.

Virtual Whiteboards: Digital Collaboration

Interactive digital canvases engage online learners. Top picks:

Miro

Endlessly flexible virtual canvas allowing collaborating and brainstorming in real-time through sticky notes, diagrams, images, templates, and stylus free-hand drawing.

Mural

Digital workspace for visual collaboration great for design thinking and team learning. Infinite canvases to brainstorm ideas together through images, post-its and sketches.

Stormboard

Online whiteboard built specifically for remote team communication and collaboration. Embed multimedia like videos and gifs. Built-in freehand tools.

Conceptboard

Virtual whiteboard for visual learning that aims to recreate the fluidity of in-person classroom collaboration through swift digital sticky notes, sketches and team document uploading.

Figma

Popular design software doubling as an expansive virtual whiteboard for live visual collaboration. Robust built-in illustration tools make brainstorming engaging.

Virtual whiteboards boost engagement through collaborative graphic ideation, note-taking, and project planning.

Conclusion

Effective online instruction requires leveraging modern edtech tools strategically built for digitizing engaging learning experiences remotely. The right mix of multimedia software, platforms and cloud collaboration technology empowers teachers to create rewarding virtual classrooms accessible anywhere.

Remember that quality online education requires investing in hardware, software, continued training and setup time on par with traditional instruction. The more seamlessly technology fades into the background of student focus, the better.

With this blueprint of essential teaching technologies, teachers can equip themselves with the digital toolkit necessary to bring courses to life, amplify instruction, stay connected, and inspire self-directed learning. The future of education is now. It’s time to leverage tech to teach smarter.

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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