20 Options to Zoom for On-line Classes [Updated]
from Teach Thought Personal
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While Skype has long been the standard and Google Meet has integration with Gmail and the Android operating system, the last few years in terms of video streaming platforms have belonged to Zoom.
In 2020, the Zoom app was downloaded 485 million times, and while active users are less clear as many businesses and school districts across the United States commit to distance teaching and learning for the 2021 school year, strong growth is likely for the foreseeable future.
And while that growth is well-deserved due to video quality, a robust feature set, usable free tiers, and other benefits, it’s still not perfect — and may not even sit well with your classes this school year. So what are the best alternatives to Zoom for online classes?
See also The definition of synchronous learning
What’s the best way to stream for teachers?
The big idea here is to help students learn, and live streaming videos is an important part of that. What is the best way for teachers to stream video content to their students?
It depends on. Which of these alternatives to zoom is best for you depends on your needs and factors, including your budget, your level of expertise, how long you will be using the video streaming platform for teaching, the grade level and the content area you are teaching, Your privacy and security concerns, the bandwidth of your students, and so on.
Of course, there is no such thing as “best” – and many of the choices below will reflect that. Some were designed primarily for business use, but could work well in a classroom setting as well. Others, like Twitch and Facebook Live, are not purely “Zoom alternatives” and certainly weren’t created for teachers, but in the right context could well work in a classroom, let alone university teachers, online tutoring, Types of Blended Learningand more.
With that foreword in mind, below are alternatives to Zoom for teachers.
Note: All prices are for standard non-discounted prices at the time of this article’s original publication. We will try to update the post with accurate information if this changes.
22 Alternatives to Zoom for Online Classes and Distance Learning
1. Blue jean
Description: Verizon’s video and remote meeting platform was designed to offer simple and secure video meetings with meeting calendars, browser capabilities, side chat and screen sharing.
Pricing: Free; other plans start at $9.99/month
Features: Unlimited meetings. No time limit, no credit card.
Other features: high-fidelity audio, award-winning performance, enterprise-class security, and best of all, it works on any device.
How to start with BlueJeans
2. Google Meet
Description: Google’s video meeting tool integrates with Gmail and, while limited compared to Zoom, has its uses.
For a blended learning classroom, you can record a lesson and then upload it to YouTube or stream your polished recording to any streaming platform.
You can also record and stream at the same time, which gives you access to video files.
Description: Microsoft’s video calling platform that can be used via the mobile app via web browsers. It features stream recording, live subtitles and can also be used for phone calls.
Description: Live whiteboards, presentation tool, chat, built-in polls, recording management and other features for teachers.
Pricing: From $150/month to $300/month
Description: A simple, small-scale virtual meeting platform
Pricing: A free tier for 4 participants (which is an odd limit right?) up to $12.99/month for up to 30
Description: Cisco-owned Webex is a standard business platform that offers many of the traditional streaming video features for online meetings, from video conferencing to larger online events and team whiteboarding. This may be more appropriate for a school department or district event than for teacher-student interactions.
Prices: Free contingent up to 100 participants; Paid plans are priced from $13.50 to $26.95/month
8. Go to Meetings
Description: GoToMeeting has long been a virtual meeting staple, offering screen sharing, conference calling, video conferencing, and mobile use too. It also provides meeting transcription which could be useful for school meetings that require documentation.
Pricing: From $12/month for 150 participants and $16 for 250 up to Enterprise pricing
Description: A virtual meeting platform that integrates with Zoom, Google Meet, Webex, and Microsoft Teams
Pricing: Starting at $13.49/month for up to 49 “seats”
10. Microsoft Teams
Description: With Skype integration, Microsoft Teams is useful for online teaching. Like Slack, Trello, and other online team-based platforms, Microsoft Teams is much more of a “teaching platform” (although it wasn’t designed specifically for teachers) than Zoom. It’s basically a communication and resource hub of sorts that you can use to anchor your distance learning, so you can consider an alternative to Zoom that might have fewer features since you use Microsoft Teams to communicate, plan, share, and document use, etc.
11. YouTube streaming
Description: YouTube streaming is probably best suited for individual “learning channels” that provide consistent education-based content, rather than as a way for a teacher to lead a classroom. However, the latter is possible with a little planning if you already use and have extensive content on YouTube.
Description: Browser based video calling with screen recording, chat, screen sharing and more.
Pricing: Free for one user and one room; An available Pro account costs $9.99/month and offers three rooms for one user, while a Business account offers up to ten rooms for multiple users and admins for $59.99/month
A professional live streaming and recording studio in your browser. Survey guests, brand your show and more. Stream to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other platforms.
Description: An open source (invitation only?) platform originally designed for people who play and stream video games. Discord is divided into interest-based channels with video streaming available for Mac or through your browser.
Description: An online collaborative whiteboard platform
Pricing: Free for up to three whiteboards; additional tiers up to $16/mo for unlimited boards and additional collaboration features
Description: Twitch is the (hugely popular) video streaming tool for gamers (people who play video games). Again, Twitch is not a tool specifically designed for teachers, but can be useful in informal learning settings, university settings, and game-based learning applications.
Pricing: From $4.99/month to $24.99/month
Description: The YouTube-like Vimeo offers video hosting with a focus on privacy controls, private team projects, and video creation tools
Pricing: From $7/month for 250GB of storage per year to $75/month for up to 7TB total storage
18. Facebook Live
Description: Intended for family members, fundraising and “influencers” rather than teachers and schools, Facebook Live could still be an option for a non-traditional classroom already using Facebook groups – or just a free video streaming tool with simple features and functions needs reasonable bandwidth requirements.
Description: Not a live streaming solution, but easy to capture and share screenshots and screenshots to share – ideal for video lessons, for example.
Pricing: Free up to $10/month, but free for teachers 🙂
Description: Hopin offers interactive podcasts, online workshops and conferences, and more. If your school or district needs something more ambitious than Zoom, Hopin could come in handy.
Pricing: In Early Access, hopin.to costs $99/organizer/month and includes 100 tickets per organizer. Each number over 100 costs 0.50 cents per registration.
20 Alternatives to Zoom for Online and Distance Learning