Learning or teaching from home is seeing a huge increase in popularity within the last decade. Online learning is helpful for unconventional students, such as those continuing their education later in life. And now in light of the COVID-19 health crisis, every student and teacher is learning to adapt to online classrooms.
The good news? The internet is prepared for this. Countless internet service providers (ISPs) are pledging to Keep Americans Connected. Plus, tons of other pre-existing online learning software already exists. We’ll explore the best teaching and learning websites for you.
Check out the chart below to see where you can find online resources. We’ll also show you how to:
At-a-glance helpful resources for online students, teachers and parents
Take a look at this list of top online teaching and learning platforms for ages 2 to adult. Find the online learning sources best for you based on price, subject matter and age range.
|Website||Starting price||Grade/age range||Recommended minimum internet speed||Best for|
|ABC Mouse||$9.95/mo., or $79.99/yr. Free for teachers||Pre-K – 2nd grade||3 Mbps||Security – the website has no advertisements or external links for kids to accidentally click on|
|Starfall||$35/yr.||Pre-K – 3nd grade||3 Mbps||Budget-friendly learning at home or on-the-go|
|Khan Academy||Free||Grade 8 and up||2 Mbps||Videos and interactive activities on a large variety of topics|
|Udemy||$10.99/course||Adults||2 Mbps||Adults and international students – Udemy has courses in over 65 languages|
|Google Classroom||Free||Teachers||4 Mbps for group videos of five or more||Educators and schools that use G Suite|
Resources to get cheap or free internet
One of the major obstacles to successful online teaching and learning is access to affordable internet. Luckily, there are a few ways to get cheap internet for your home, including modifying your current service, switching providers or finding an internet plan for low-income households.
In addition, many major ISPs are currently helping students and other remote workers by offering free internet access, waiving overage fees and activation fees. See if one of the providers below is offering internet assistance in your area:
Now that you know what resources are available to at-home students and what speeds those programs require, you can assess if you have the best home internet to support your household.
Speed up your current internet
Before upgrading or shopping for internet, take stock of what you need to study or teach from home. Ask yourself questions such as, “how many people in your home will be using the internet at once?” and “what types of activities are you doing online?” to make sure that you are not paying for more internet speed than you need.
If you already have internet access at your home, but it’s not as fast as you would like, there are a few tips and tricks that you can try before paying more for faster internet.
- If you do research online, make sure you are using the best web browser.
- If you use fiber internet, try updating your modem and router.
- If you need to stream lessons online, check out these tips for improving your streaming quality.
- If your internet is just generally slow, try these tips for improving your internet speed.
How to make a remote learning schedule
It’s a good idea to make a schedule for the days you will be learning or teaching remotely. Even if you don’t end up strictly sticking to your schedule, it can serve as a reliable outline for your day.
If you’re a parent of a student who is currently learning from home or a teacher in charge of getting your lesson plans online, you may have to login at a certain time each day to interact with your classroom. The good news is the rest of your day’s schedule is up to you. Use the timetable below as a rough starting point to develop what works best for your home.
Remember, the most important actions to setting up yourself or your child for success with online learning is to promote:
- Attendance: Make sure to login before classes start. Give yourself time to sort out any technical issues if you are using a new technology that is not familiar to you.
- Participation: Part of staying engaged with online learning is asking questions and engaging in lessons, just like if you were in the physical classroom.
- Follow-through: Complete and turn in assignments on time, and allow time for studying when necessary. Need some more help staying organized? Check out these student-friendly apps to keep you on the right track.
How to successfully study and work from home
Much like working from home, learning or teaching from home can be a whole new experience, especially to those who are used to being in a conventional classroom for eight hours a day. So be prepared for possible apprehension on the part of children and teens. If you’re a student or a teacher with young children at home as well, here’s some advice from WFH parents that might help.
Use this checklist from SUNY Polytechnic Institute to make the study from home or work from home transition even easier.
And remember, the first few days, or weeks, may require some adjustment before you feel a sense of routine and normalcy, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not getting the hang of it right away.