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Tools I’ve Tried for Online Teaching

I am writing this on the 2nd day of class suspension for Manila, due to the local transmission of COVID-19. Since yesterday, I’ve been receiving queries about access to the Virtual Learning Environment of UP Manila. This, after spending the weekend finishing the modules of the Rapid Transition to Online Learning (12-step roadmap) by the AALAS. I had volunteered to be in the international network of faculty who had experience in flipped learning.

Can I frame this memo?

You see, I’ve been trying to guide the faculty in using online tools for sooooo long!

Step 1 of the 12-step roadmap is to “confirm what technology is available to you and your students at school and at home.” So aside from the usual suspects (Moodle, Google Classroom and Hangouts), here are some free online tools I’ve personally tried.

  1. Screencast-O-matic at is free web-based program that allows you to record screencast lectures with or without a talking head. It is free to use if the video length is 15 minutes or less.

2. Flipgrid at is a video discussion platform. Both teachers and students can record videos to get a lively discussion going.

Here’s a short tutorial for teachers.

3. TedEd lesson creator at You can create a TedEd lesson by “adding interactive questions, discussion topics and more to your favorite TED-Ed Animations, TED talks or any video on YouTube.” Check out the short tutorial below.

4. Edpuzzle at allows you to “embed either open-ended or multiple-choice questions, audio notes, audio tracks, or comments on a video.” It’s a cool way to make viewing videos a more active process for students.

I also use Explain EDU on my iPad but this is not a free app. I’ve used it to record explainer videos for students. I use an Adonit Note pencil to annotate my slides as I explain.

You can also just use the Keynote app on the iPad and do a screen recording, as I did here for this video on the UP Manila Virtual Learning Environment. [Note how much more lively my voice is compared to my tired voice in the previous video about GDM!]

There are many more tools out there. What matters most is a teacher’s willingness to try. Class suspensions may not be the happiest motivation to learn online tools on the fly (so much pressure!), but we need to help our students. Tweet me at @endocrine_witch. I’m always willing to help!

P.S. Meet (advanced Google Hangouts features) is free for G Suite subscribers (like UP Manila faculty) until 1 July 2020.

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