I have been teaching for over 15 years traveling the world as well as online. In this article, I will share with you how to teach online through your mobile or cell phone.
You can teach online through mobile by creating a custom mobile application, using the mobile apps that work with your Learning Management System (LMS), using a mobile-friendly website, using a third party training hosting that is mobile-friendly, using a third-party mobile app.
Here is what we will cover in this article:
- Understanding Teaching on Mobile
- Custom Mobile Application
- LMS Mobile Apps
- Mobile Ready Training Websites
- Third-Party Course Hosting
- Audio Options
- Audio Book
- Live Audio Conferences
- Video Options
- Live Video Conferencing
- Web Conferences
- Best Educational Apps
Now that you know there are many ways to teach using mobile phones let’s look into each of the topics in more detail and I will share with you some tips and tricks to save you time.
Understanding Teaching On Mobile
There are a few things you need to understand when teaching like:
- Screen Size
- Internet Bandwidth
- Ability to Download Lessons
- Availability of Camera
- Availability or Microphone and Speakers
- Location Services
Why Is Screen Size Important On Mobile?
The most critical thing to remember when teaching on a mobile or cell phone is the size of the screen you are working with. The real estate on the screen is limited even though devices are getting slightly larger.
This means that you need to think about this whenever you choose your method of teaching via a mobile device. This means collapsable menus and no sidebars for example. As well as making sure your images and videos scale right to mobile and look ok on them as well.
Is Internet Speed Still Important On Mobile?
While anyone reading this in a top of the pyramid country with high-speed mobile internet and an unlimited data plan may not think so. Are all your students in these countries? Most middle and bottom of the pyramid countries while they may have high-speed internet still have strict data plan limits.
So this means you should if you want to go global think about this for your students and optimise your multimedia content to minimise file size.
Why Download Lessons On Mobile?
You may think that the data limits above are the reason why you would want to do this and it is one reason. It allows people to download lessons when they are on a wifi connection so that if they are in a subway on the way to work or out of range of a tower in a plane they can still do the lessons.
Advantages Of Cameras On Mobiles
One of the brilliant things about teaching on a mobile phone is that you have access to a camera. If you need proof of your student completing a task you can just get them to take a picture or video of their result or to show they are completing the task itself.
I have an article that goes into some of these methods of assessment you can look at here.
Recording and Listening to Audio
Having a built-in speaker means you can provide students with any audio content that you like such as audiobooks, podcasts and pre-recorded lectures. There are heaps of different audio content types that you can look at in this article below.
The microphone also means for assessments instead of written answers you can get them to record themselves instead. “Explain in your own words….blah blah blah” for example. I am sure now that you have thought about it there are many other things you can think of using the microphone for and the able content article may inspire you as well.
How Would I Use Location Services Teaching On Mobile?
What if a task was to go and visit a certain location? You could get the location services to proof for assessment they had been there and completed the task. Or alternately get them to “Check-In” at the place on Google maps.
Don’t forget with location services they can also plot their route on a google map and submit that as well. Again I think you will come up with more ideas as you think about it.
Custom Mobile Application:
You can also teach online by creating a custom mobile application. Custom application development is the designing of software applications for a specific user or a group of users within an organization.
You can hire an expert to create a custom mobile application or you can also create it yourself. You could use one of the many freelancing websites like Fiverr, Upwork, Guru or freelancer.com to find a developer for this.
LMS Mobile Apps
You can also teach online through mobile by using mobile apps that work or are made specifically by the Learning Management System(LMS) providers. The more popular the LMS the more third party mobile applications you will find.
Moodle is an open-source learning management system which is free to use for company or private use as long as you don’t try to on sell it the software itself. This is all covered in the open source General Public License (GPL) agreement.It is one of the worlds most widely used LMS
Here are some of the Moodle mobile apps you could use to teach on mobile:
- Official Moodle Mobile App
This is for educational institutions
- Official Moodle Workplace App
This is for private businesses
Below you will find a list of Moodle apps in the Google Play store that are the official and third party applications as well as specific educational institutions that have brought out their own moodle mobile app.
To get this same or an updated list do the following:
- Go to https://play.google.com
- Select the App tab on the left hand side
- In the search bar at the top of the page type in “Moodle”
Unlike moodle Canvas is a paid LMS made by Instructure. There are many differences between the two and you can see those differences in the article below.
Just like with Moodle there are official and unofficial mobile applications you can use to teach on mobile. You can do the same process I did above to find the Canvas apps on the Google Play store.
IMPORTANT: Notice I have favored Android devices as they have over 70% of the market of mobile phones with iPhones in 2020 only having 15%. For me I would hedge my bets and stick with Android devices with Apple’s market share shrinking.
Mobile Ready Training Websites
You can teach online through mobile-ready training websites especially built for online teaching. Here are some LMS that will you can use that are mobile ready. Mobile ready means that if you view the website in a browser you will get the mobile version of the website specifically designed to be viewed on mobile devices..
Google Classroom allows teachers to create classes, distribute and grade assignments, and send feedback to students. Permissions for students, guardians, and co-teachers are customizable, as are the options teachers have to share their screen, share a student’s screen, or lock everything down for something like a pop quiz.
Google Classroom is simple, intuitive and highly versatile and you can learn more about it in the many articles on this website by clicking here to get a list of the other articles.
ARTICLES: Google Classroom Articles
As well as being a mobile ready website Google Classroom also has a mobile application which you can find in the Google Play store using the method above.
In TalentLMS, teachers can import existing courses as well as create new courses. Instructors can schedule webinars to teach students face to face. TalentLMS has a free as well as paid version. In the free version, it allows only 5 users and ten courses but the storage has no limit. The paid version allows 40 users and starts at $59 per month. The free version is only for very small classes.
TalentLMS has great reporting functionality and is flexible to different teaching and learning styles.
Third-Party Course Hosting
Hosting your course on one of the many third party training websites is a great way to just get down to creating your courses and teaching students as quickly as possible. The platform looks after marketing and the technical side of delivering courses online as well as making sure you can view them on mobile devices. Most of them have a mobile ready website and a mobile app that allows you to download your courses for offline viewing.
This all sounds great doesn’t it? Well the downside is they decide on how you get paid and how much you get paid and control everything about how your course is delivered. This is great to ensure course quality but can force you to do things you don’t want to do with your training.
From a pricing point of view Udemy for instance takes a large percentage of your income if they sell the course and are known to force 80% and 90% off sales on your courses quite frequently. Skillshare only pays you a percentage of profits based on minutes of training viewed of your courses.
So you really need to review their information on this when you sign up about how courses are priced, who is allowed to discount and what percentage you get paid.
It is the best marketplace to launch your first course. The great benefit is that you can have Udemy as an app or look at the website in your mobile browser. This platform has over 24 million students enrolled in different courses.
If you want to create a paid course on Udemy first you have to apply to become a premium instructor. Once approved, keep in mind that all courses should have at least five videos and 30-minutes total duration. You can also add quizzes, assignments and exercises. They will tell you the current rules when you sign up.
If you are confused you can submit a sample for review. The feedback comes with the suggestions on how to improve. If you are struggling for the first few sales, Udemy’s tailor-made marketing programs and Udemy’s affiliate marketing program will offer support. You just need to get your course featured in the email blasts.
Skillshare is best for teaching creative skills either it is photography, painting, writing, cooking or even marketing. Membership plan offers students access to 22000 premium courses. It is free to sign up and publish your courses. To get paid you must have to be part of skillshare’s premium catalogue.
Each class includes a video of 20-60 minutes, broken down to 2-5 minute lessons. Skillshare pays instructors $10 for premium membership referrals and royalties for minutes watched in a premium class each month. You will want to review any changes to this directly on their website.
Instead of a physical textbook maybe you want to use an audio book as a companion to teaching on mobile as they can store and listen to it directly from the device. You can either choose from one of the many Audio books on Amazons Audible or Google Audio Books platforms or create one yourself.
As well as weekly interest podcasts you can deliver the audio of your lectures in a similar format using any of the common podcasting applications. You can even make them subscribe only which means they have to be an approved student in your class to access them.
As an alternative you could always do what most people do and post the audio lectures to their LMS platform and use the tools mentioned in the LMS section above to deliver them to students. This method is great if you are wanting your course is an audio only course and you can make it a premium podcast on the podcast apps where they need to pay for access.
Live Audio Conferences
While modern technology allows us to do live video chats I think most people still prefer audio only so that they don’t have their background showing especially when not at work. It is great for the instructor to read body language but you have to weigh that versus the student feeling comfortable.
There are many applications you can use for group audio chats and most are built into social chat apps as well as some being stand alone. A lot are actually used for online gaming.
WhatsApp is an easy access app and is very simple to use for video calls. You can also do group calls for online classes. You can share documents, images, recorded videos and audios with your students through WhatsApp.
Discord is another commonly used game audio group chat application but can be easily used for your classrooms. It allows you to create heaps of groups with plenty of users for free. Their free plan enables you to take advantage of all the important features. Personally I love the mobile app offered by this tool and the ability to control the call as well as chat through it.
This is not a free service and you normally have to pay for access through one of their licensed providers. You will pay a small fee for each user normally or each group of users per month. Due to being a paid service this is not as popular.
This is the most used and most advanced of the audio chats that is often used for huge eSports tournaments. You can download the software and use it for private use for free for up to 32 slots (users) on your own server. After that it is paid for and you can find the pricing on their website. If you pay they will host the service for you as well. This is great for small or large classes and has a proven capability to thousands of users at a time.
Used mainly in corporate environments you can use it for teaching as well. It is free to download and make internet calls but is charged for calling mobile phones or landlines.
If you want to make your training public and monetize with Youtube ads then you can post your training to Youtube and your students and view your video training with the Youtube app or through a web browser. You can build the individual videos into a playlist for each topic.
You can also do live stream events where the students can interact with you via text chat. They can also leave public comments that you can respond to as well. To monetise with ads you need to at least have 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours at the making of the article to start.
With a lot of Universities and Vocational Training Organisations teasing people into courses by making the first 3 to 4 weeks free this may be what you use Youtube for. This teases them to enrol in the full course on your website.
A video conference is just multiple people viewing each other on live streaming video. This used to need specialised equipment and if you want to you can still pay these huge prices and set them up in a workplace.
Video conferencing only software can still be found on the Microsoft store, iTunes, Google Play store. It however has been replaced however by web conferencing where video conferencing is just one of the many features you can use.
You will still find one on one video conferencing which is great for tutoring individual students face to face in apps like: Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and other similar apps. They can all be found in the Google Play Store.
A web conference is the modern form of a video conference with extra features like viewing your computer live, whiteboards, chat rooms and more. They have kind of taken over where video conferences left off.
For your convenience here are some of the tools you can use:
- Slack for calls from your team chat app (To download, click here)
- Google Meet for G Suite users. (To download, click here)
- Webex for whiteboarding. (To download, click here)
- Zoom for reliable, large video calls. (To download, click here)
- GoToWebconferencing for professional features. (To download, click here)
- join.me for a lightweight option. (To download, click here)
- Starleaf (To download, click here)
Start your meeting with everyone muted and ask them to sign in to the chat box by answering an opening question. You can also record the video lecture and deliver it to students. In this way students can make notes in their own time and listen to the lectures again whenever they want as well.
Best Educational Apps
There are a multitude of educational apps made by third parties on every topic imaginable and it is worth while reviewing them for your topic. There are heaps of “How to teach” style topics on this website that you can find here with their matching mobile apps.
ARTICLES: How To Teach Your Subject
Take time to understand the apps and to plan the structure of the course. You can also ask your students to give suggestions. Make the schedule according to your students. This will help a lot in gaining output from your students. Take time to decide which app features you like the most. As teaching online is a long term process, make it as easy as possible.