The TEFL industry is steadily expanding into a high tech and modern one. Due to this, TEFL teachers are using a huge variety of platforms on which to conduct their lessons and courses. From Skype to Google, have a look at the pros and cons of each program to decide which is the most effective, efficient, and useful for your TEFL career.
Online TEFL with Skype
The video-call giant of the Internet, Skype is the most used of all platforms. Since the Premium version was discontinued, meaning it’s now completely free, Skype has become even more popular (and handy for lessons).
- Most widely used, meaning students will more likely already have an account.
- Generally, the calls are good quality.
- Is now completely free.
- An easy to use and accessible interface.
- If you don’t have the app you can just call from your web browser.
- Occasionally laggy video calls.
- No special features to improve the lesson.
- Only call people with a Skype account.
Overall, Skype is very useful for simple one-to-one, or even small group lessons. Having a Skype account is, quite frankly, a must in the online TEFL world. However, the lack of extra features really puts it at a disadvantage compared to some other more specialised platforms.
Online TEFL with WizIQ
WizIQ is rapidly growing as the go-to place for online learning and it’s easy to see why. This platform comes with numerous features for both teacher and student which really improve the lessons and overall learning experience.
- Built specifically for online learning between real life tutors and students.
- Give live lessons which includes a whiteboard to help express both the tutor’s and students’ thoughts.
- Record lessons to be downloaded and re-watched later.
- Upload presentations and question sheets.
- Fairly good quality calls.
- Set assignments for students to complete and submit.
- Not as large as Skype, so less likely that a student will possess an account.
- Starting plan at $33 per month for 25 users. Get more info on the pricing here.
- Not the easiest to use. Finding and making use of all features can be complicated.
WizIQ possesses some of the best online classroom features of any platform ever. Another interesting benefit of WizIQ is that you can download the mobile app, meaning you can check on assignments etc. on the go. The pricing is not too much of a problem as you often get your money’s worth. Unfortunately, the site does not have a constant online presence of students so you will find it hard to pick up new ones. Also, the complicated interface may be slightly off putting for new students.
Online TEFL with Google Hangouts
Part of the bigger Google+ social media scheme, Google Hangouts is becoming increasingly popular for TEFL teachers and students alike. Similar to Skype, but with slightly more features, Google Hangouts has a number of advantages and disadvantages to it.
- You can call anyone with a Google account (which is a lot of people).
- If your session is made public then even those without a Google account can join the call.
- Good quality video calls and instant messaging box.
- Able to share screens.
- Record lessons, like in WizIQ.
- As a part of Google+, you can make use of the many applications Google provides such as Documents, to improve the overall experience.
- Completely free.
- The association with Google+ may put potential students off.
- Hangouts itself is not as popular as Skype.
- Not as many features as WizIQ.
Google Hangouts has proven to be a splendid way to video call. Boasting integration with other Google apps and free services, this is certainly a platform to consider. The main drawback is its association with Google+ which many people feel forces users to sign up to its accounts. Overall, it’s a very handy and useful platform to use for TEFL lessons.
Now, to conclude, each of these platforms offers a unique experience for online TEFL teachers and students. Choosing which is the best is difficult and really depends on the kind of course/lesson you want to teach. On the one hand, WizIQ clearly provides the most features for tutors. As well as this, it is also designed to behave like a classroom which improves the overall experience of students. On the other hand, WizIQ is definitely not as popular as either Skype or Google Hangouts, resulting in a smaller potential student base. Also, both of these platforms are far simpler and more accessible for users.
So, overall, we think Google Hangouts provides the perfect balance of accessibility and features. However, it wouldn’t hurt to expand to as many platforms as possible to increase your chance of finding new students.
Now, go find out for yourself which platform you think is the best, whether it be Skype, Google Hangouts, WizIQ – or another we haven’t mentioned.
Don’t forget to take a look at our own online TEFL courses!