20 Alternatives To Zoom For Online Teaching And Remote Learning
by TeachThought Staff
While Skype has long been the standard and Google Meet has integration with Gmail and the Android operating system, in terms of video streaming platforms, 2021 has been the year of Zoom.
In 2020, the Zoom app was downloaded 485 million times and while active users are less clear, with many businesses and school districts in the United States sticking with remote teaching and learning for the 2021 school year, strong growth is likely for the foreseeable future.
And while this growth is well-earned as the result of video quality, a robust feature set, actually-usable free tiers, and other advantages, it’s still not perfect–and in fact, may not even be a good fit for your teaching this school year. So what are the best alternatives to Zoom for online teaching?
What Is The Best Way To Stream For Teachers?
The big idea here is helping students learn and live streaming of video is an important part of that. What’s the best way for teachers to stream video content to their students?
Well, it depends. Which of these alternatives to zoom work best for you depends on your needs and factors including your budget, your expertise, how long you’ll be using the video streaming platform for teaching, the grade level and content area you teach, your privacy and security concerns, the bandwidth of your students, and so on.
Clearly, there is no ‘best’–and many of the choices below will reflect that. Some are built primarily for business use but could work well in a classroom. Others, like Twitch and Facebook Live aren’t purely ‘alternatives to zoom’ and certainly weren’t created for teachers but absolutely could function in a classroom in the right context, not to mention for university teachers, online tutoring, and more.
So, with that preface in mind, below are alternatives to Zoom for teachers.
Note: All pricing is accurate for standard, non-discounted pricing as of this article’s original publishing. We will try to update the post with accurate info if/as that changes.
22 Alternatives To Zoom For Online Teaching And Remote Learning
Description: Google’s video meeting tool that integrates with Gmail and, while limited compared to Zoom, has its applications.
One of the newer video conferencing platforms, Crikle was created more for sales and branding but its simple interface and customizable (at certain subscription levels) branding make it perfectly usable in many educational settings as well.
Pricing: Starting ~$50/mo
Description: Microsoft’s video calling platform that can be used via mobile app through web browsers. It has stream recording, live subtitles, and also can be used for phone calls as well.
Description: Verizon’s video and remote meeting platform is designed to offer simple and secure video meeting with meeting calendars, browser functionality, sidechat, and screensharing.
Pricing: Plans start at $9.99/mo
Description: Live whiteboards, presentation tool, chat, built-in polling, recording management, and other features for teachers.
Pricing: Ranging from $150/mo to $300/mo
Description: A simple, low-scale virtual meeting platform
Pricing: A free tier for 4 participants (which is an odd limit, no?) up to $12.99/mo for up to 30
Description: Cisco-owned Webex is a standard business platform that offers many of the traditional features for video streaming for online meetings, from video conferencing to larger, online events and team whiteboarding. This one may be a better fit for a school department or district event rather than teacher to student interactions.
Pricing: Free tier up to 100 participants; prices for paid plans range from $13.50 to $26.95/mo
Description: A longtime business staple for virtual meetings, GoToMeeting offers screen sharing, conference calling, video conferencing, and mobile use as well. It also offers meeting transcription which could be useful for school meetings that require documentation.
Pricing: Ranging from $12/mo 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 $13.49/mo for up to 49 ‘seats’
Description: With Skype integration, Microsoft Teams is useful for online teaching. Like Slack, Trello, and other online team-based platforms, Microsoft Teams is far more of a ‘teaching platform’ (though it’s not designed expressly for teachers) than Zoom. It’s basically a kind of communication and resource hub that you can use to anchor your remote teaching–allowing you to consider using an alternative to Zoom that may have fewer features since you’ll be using Microsoft Teams to communicate, plan, share, and document, etc.
Description: YouTube streaming is likely best for individual ‘learning channels’ that deliver consistent education-based content rather than a way for a teacher to host a classroom. That said, 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, screensharing, and more.
Pricing: Free for one user and one room; an available Pro account is $9.99/mo and offers one user three rooms while a business account offers multiple users and admins for up to ten rooms for $59.99/mo
Description: A browser-based videoconferencing tool designed for engagement with smaller groups. However, the signup and account creation is unclear, includes providing a phone number, and has a literal waiting list that you can ‘skip ahead’ of if you solicit signups from your friends. Not exactly a teacher-centered tool but if you’re interested, take a look.
Pricing: Yotribe appears to be free (for now?) but we were not able to clarify exact pricing before publishing
Description: An open-source (invite-only?) platform originally created for people who play and stream video games. Discord is separated into interest-based channels with available video streaming available for Mac or via 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 (extremely popular) video streaming tool for gamers (people who play video games). Again, not a tool designed expressly for teachers, twitch can be useful in informal learning environments, university settings, and game-based learning applications.
Pricing: Ranging from $4.99/mo to $24.99/mo
Description: YouTube-like Vimeo offers video hosting focused on privacy controls, private team projects, and video creation tools
Pricing: Ranging from $7/mo for 250GB of storage a year to $75/mo for up to 7TB of total storage
Description: More for family members, fundraising, and ‘influencers’ than teachers and schools, Facebook Live still might be an option for a non-traditional classroom already using Facebook Groups–or just in need of a free video streaming tool with simple features and reasonable bandwidth requirements.
Description: Not a live streaming solution but an easy to record and share screenshots and screencaptures for sharing–great for video lessons, for example.
Pricing: Free to $10/mo but free for teachers : )
Description: Hopin features interactive podcasts, online workshops and conferences, and more. If your school or district needs something more ambitious than Zoom, hopin might be useful.
Pricing: In Early Access, hopin.to is $99/organizer/mo, and includes 100 tickets per organizer. Any number over 100 is $0.50 cents per registration.
20 Alternatives To Zoom For Online Learning And Remote Teaching