Best Online Teaching Tools 2021

Are you a teacher looking to make the most of your online teaching experience? Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or someone who’s just starting to dip their toes in the online teaching world, it’s always good to keep an eye out for new tools that you can use to make your job easier and more efficient.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the best online teaching tools of 2021. These tools will help you stay organized, communicate with students, provide assignments, and track grades. Some of these are free, and some have a cost associated with them. All of them will help you deliver better instruction and create a more engaging learning environment for your students.

Best Online Teaching Tools 2021

boy at computer learning online

These educational apps and websites make the cut because they are user-friendly and can enrich learning in a valuable way. In other words, they’re not just another bell or whistle for a “techie” classroom: they actually enhance learning in ways that would not be possible without technology.

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Plus, by engaging with each of these platforms (though certainly not all at once!), kids can build their tech savvy, learn about online safety, and increase their digital literacy. 

1. Kahoot!

This was a favorite of my middle school students; Kahoot! is an interactive platform that transforms traditional hand raising into a game the whole class can enjoy. It makes an appearance in thousands of classrooms for good reason! Ideal for distance learning or jazzing up an in-person activity, the site recently expanded to include pre-made content and tools for group work, assessment, and more. 

2. Minecraft Education Edition

From learning to code, to building math and other STEM skills, Minecraft Education Edition has a lot to offer teachers and learners. Kids can bring valuable prior knowledge to the table, and it’s amazing to see their engagement skyrocket because they’re learning alongside the game they love. 

Some of you may be thinking – hang on – sure, it’s fun, but can Minecraft be educational? Our answer: absolutely! Check out the many educational benefits of Minecraft. 

3. PearDeck

Recently integrated with Google Slides, PearDeck is an excellent tool for elevating direct instruction to include engaged student participation. Teachers can collaborate in creating great content, add audio and gifs, and seamlessly add engagement components to their lessons.

4. FlipGrid

If students could use a little more face time, FlipGrid is an excellent way to bring it into the classroom, virtual or otherwise. It’s a secure platform that allows students and teachers to record video responses, discussions, presentations, performances, and other video content. 

5. Storybird

Kids preschool age and up can use Storybird to bring their amazing stories and other creative writing to life. From picture books and comics to poetry and novels, Storybird allows students’ voices to shine and be shared.

6. Google Expeditions and Virtual Tours

Students can feel like they’re there—even in a time when travel is off the table. Plus, the impressive archives of Google Virtual Tours and Expeditions can bring history to life and transport students into hundreds of museums, landmarks, and other fascinating places around the world. 

7. Headspace

Kids benefit enormously from building de-stressing, focus, and mindfulness strategies, but unfortunately, these skills rarely appear in official curriculum. Headspace is free for teachers to use and offers a number of exercises and resources for bringing mindfulness and mental health awareness into their classrooms. 

8. Edpuzzle

Teachers looking to record key content will love Edpuzzle, a website that makes it easy to create videos for students to reference at any time. Edpuzzle also allows educators to select existing content from YouTube and post the videos with questions that check for understanding, ensuring that students are engaging with what they watch. 

9. Tynker

With over 3,700 coding lessons to choose from, it’s no surprise that Tynker is a popular computer science educational site. Teachers who want to bring fun events like Hour of Code into their curriculum or STEM enrichment programs will love how Tynker has something for every experience level.

10. Anchor

Podcasts have taken the world by storm, so why not make creating one a class project? Anchor is a free podcasting tool that students can use to dive deeper into virtually any content area and share their insights with an audience. 

11. Prodigy

Reigning supreme among math apps for kids, Prodigy is so engaging, it can get even reluctant mathematicians excited about practicing and studying. Teachers can use Prodigy to extend in-class activities, suggest supplemental practice at home, and track students’ progress.

12. AllSides

I know from experience that teaching kids about media bias and finding quality information online can be challenging, and I wish I had known about AllSides! This website presents what multiple news outlets are saying about contemporary issues and news in a way that helps kids get the complete picture. 

13. EmbraceRace

EmbraceRace provides valuable resources for teachers and organizations working to teach kids about inclusivity and racial equity. These can be tough conversations to have, but they’re critically important. This website provides a wealth of useful articles, books, and other resources to help educators have them in a meaningful way. 

14. ScreenCastify

Teachers eager to try a “flipped” classroom model should definitely check out ScreenCastify. Its Google integrations make it easy to link to staples like Google Classroom or Slides, and teachers can easily create and share videos with their students. Plus, this tool can be used for sharing personalized feedback with kids, which many teachers report is a time-saving lifesaver.  

15. PollEverywhere

Talk about rapid-fire assessment! PollEverywhere makes instant formative assessment a breeze. Teachers can use this as a formal quizzing platform, or they can gather anonymous (to their peers) data that can help inform grouping and indicate who might need extra support or an extra challenge. 

16. TED Ed

A great TED Talk can do so much more than fill class time with a nifty video. TED Ed offers a plethora of inspirational material, enriching academic content, discussion questions, and more ways to get kids excited about technology and how it can be harnessed to change the world. Secondary students might enjoy creating their own TED Talk, and kids of all ages can broaden their horizons with TED Ed. 

17. Explain Everything Whiteboard

Visual learners rejoice! Explain Everything allows teachers to weave interactive examples into lessons so kids can literally see what they mean. Whether illustrating a science concept, grammar trick, or artistic style, the online “whiteboard” feature makes step-by-step examples accessible to kids that they can watch and rewind at their own pace. 

18. YouTube

Educators can be somewhat divided on this one, and we understand why: as an educational tool, YouTube is best used in the classroom with caution and with careful vetting. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you with the ultimate guide to the best educational YouTube channels, and there are some real winners on this list! 

fun online teaching tools

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1. Twiddla (

Twiddle provides a really easy to use collaborative online whiteboard. This “no setup web based meeting playground” is quick and easy – inviting others to collaborate by just hitting the green GO button to start a session and then use the Invite option. This app provides a great set of tools. You can easily add an image, web page, or document as a background to markup. There is a color palette tool, pen width tool, a shapes tool, and text can be inserted. There’s even a chat option built in.

2. Google Drive (

Most of you are probably already familiar with Google Drive, which lets you share and collaboratively edit Google Docs with anyone else who has a Google account, for free. Sweet. Being able to collaboratively edit documents and worksheets opens up a world of possibilities for interactive classroom activities and projects.

3. (that’s it …

This free tool* allows users to easily create bubble maps, that can be exported in various formats, saved (by exporting and re-importing them in an appropriate format), and yes … edited collaboratively. The use of bubble maps as a teaching tool has been a good practice for decades, but bringing it to a new level by enabling collaborative editing through an online tool is totally 21st century!
*The Basic plan lets you create, share, and collaboratively edit 3 Bubble Maps.

4. Edmodo (

This multi-platform, device agnostic, kid-safe platform is perfect for active learning – share content, have a dialogue (in or out of the classroom), and even get parents involved! A rich set of features including collaboration-enabling functions like Learning Communities and Discussions have encouraged over 34 million teachers and students to adopt Edmodo, making it one of the most popular free education tools on the Web. Check out “10 Reasons Why Edmodo is an Excellent (and Hugely Popular) Digital Learning Platform” to learn more.

5. Yammer (

Yammer is a private social network. Work in groups, share files, co-edit content and more with their free Basic plan. Explore “5 Ways Yammer is Improving Communication, Connections, and Learning in our Schools” to learn more.

6. Skype (

This popular, widely known platform provides for group meetings tools that can be particularly effective for remote participants to come together. For example, if you’re thinking about collaborating with a remote classroom, Skype can be huge asset in doing so. Skype is also great from bringing students who might be stuck at home due to illness or other situations into the classroom to join the class for a collaborative dialogue or other activity.

7. Vyew (

Vyew is a collaborative interactive white board. It’s come a long way since we first covered it on EmergingEdTech years ago. Not only can you create a collaborative whiteboard on line, you can upload images and document and write over them, have a discussion around them, and more. Check out the “What is Vyew” video on their home page to learn more. The free version only allows for a small set of users (10 real time participants), but that can work well if you set up a few separate groups. Larger groups of participants aren’t too expensive, starting at $10/mo.


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