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Zoom is a video conferencing app that received wide publicity during the past few months. The need to connect with peers, colleagues, family and friends is essential in this new world order of isolation and social distancing. This also necessitates that life goes on normally with people working from home, students attending virtual classes online.
Zoom allows team video calls for up to 100 participants. Zoom’s privacy issues have led to search for other alternatives for bigger groups.
Skype is one of the first video calling apps in the market introduced by Microsoft in 2003. This tool has been used widely for one to one meeting. Skype has added a feature –Meet Now- that allows video conferencing with multiple users. They can join the meetings even if they do not have an account.
The app performs on desktop and mobile platforms. The end to end encryption provides security. This free tool is easy to use and supports up to 50 members.
An all in all school management software with a sound video conferencing feature.
Using this app, it’s easy to run online classes from anywhere in the world. Both live and recorded classes are accessible for students. Interactive features including screen-sharing, group chat/ one-to-one chat with teachers is possible. Students can attend classes on iOS, android or in web without using password. The classes can be adjusted in accordance with the internet facility available. Also learning can be enhanced with additional resources.
#3: Google Duo
This is a video chat app for smaller groups of less than 12 people. The app works on Wi-Fi and mobile data and functions effectively on lesser quality networks. The video calls are encrypted end to end and hence is very secure. Google Duo is free and there is no time limit for usage.
This online meeting platform facilitates audio and video conferencing with students, customers and clients. Administrative and drawing tools and mouse sharing are additional features of this app. School meetings can be documented using the transcription feature.
The free version comes with limitations on time and group size. For a reasonable price, the limits on time can be removed. The app is budget friendly and has different plans that can hold from 150 to 3000 participants in a single video conference.
#5: Cisco Webex
The webex app is an excellent online meeting tool. They have a section entirely dedicated to remote working teams. Screen sharing, HD video and recording are the prominent features. The tool has a call-in for audio function. This is ideal for classroom tutoring.
Their free package allows up to 100 users with unlimited time for each meeting. The different plans on payment allows up to 200 users. The app performs on desktop, Android and iOS platforms.
#6: Zoho Meeting
Zoho Meeting matches the Zoom app in features and capabilities. The best feature of this app is that one can join the meetings directly without downloading the app. Though the app has a desktop platform, Zoho can be downloaded on iOS or Android devices making the use of the app very simple.
The app comes with extra features of meeting reminders, scheduling and systems control. The tool permits up to 250 participants. The tool is charged based on the number of participants in a meeting or webinar.
#7: Jitsi Meet
The app is encrypted end to end. It does not require one to create an account. Users can join a meeting without having to download the app. Text messages can be sent during video conferencing, screen sharing is also possible in this. Access to conference rooms can be controlled using a password.
The app operates on Windows, Mac and Linux systems. The app is totally free and has no limit to the number of users.
#8: Microsoft Teams
This is the best alternative to Zoom in video conferencing. Microsoft Team is a part of Microsoft 365 which is normally used by companies. The participants can join in the conversation by clicking on the link and do not necessarily have to download the tool.
The app operates on all popular platforms. Team is enabled for those using Microsoft 365 by default. 250 participants can be added on for a single meeting.
#9: Google Meet
This software from Google is easy to use. A google account is required to create a meeting. But this is not required to join a meeting. Anyone can join the meetings using links. The free version of Google Meet allows 100 participants with a time limit of one hour.
#10: Blue Jeans
This alternative to Zoom is a fast and secure tool for online tutoring, video conferencing and meetings. This cloud-based service is opted for high-quality streaming. The meetings can be recorded for further reference.
The tool is chargeable based on individual needs. The platform can host up to 150 participants depending on the plan chosen. The app operates on both desktop and mobile platforms.
This app has got features essential for the teachers. Videos, chats, presentations, live white boards, built-in polling aid the teachers. The interface is very easy for students and teachers to use.
This tool works on all platforms and is not free. There are no restrictions on the number of people that can be enrolled on a session. The length of each session is limited to one hour.
The video calling app is browser-based with screen sharing, recording and chat features. The teacher can create a room which can be kept locked when not in use. It can be opened for students to enter and locked once they are in, to prevent intrusion into the sessions.
It comes free for one user and one chat room with four members. The payable versions can accommodate multiple users and chat rooms.
This tool is a virtual classroom incorporating all the needs of teachers. A room can be created and students can be invited to join. In addition to the features of whiteboard, screen sharing and presentation screens, direct links to Google documents, YouTube videos can be given. This enables the class to watch videos together and do collaborative work. This app is free and works well on desktop and mobile platforms.
Tox differs from other apps in its security feature. The app has no central servers and uses open source encryption. No one can get access to the messages and data. This app features as the best solution for users seeking privacy.
The app features video and voice calls and sharing of screen and files. This fast and secure app is free with no upper limit to the number of participants.
This versatile resource has been developed for the education sector. Small classroom meetings and larger sized webinars can be held on this platform. The interface is simple and easy to use based on a floor plan. The profile image of the user appears when a particular seat is clicked on making it easier to see the attendees. Lessons can be recorded and screens can be shared. This free platform enables up to 500 participants.
TrueConf works on most of the popular platforms. The app performs efficiently on low internet speeds. The additional features enable integration with VoIP and surveillance systems. The free plan is inclusive of Skype for business and HD video conferencing.
The free version permits up to 12 speakers and participants. The premium plan permits 36 speakers and 800 participants for a video conference.
#17: Mozilla Hubs
This hub provides 3D virtual classrooms with audio and video chat. A pen tool to write anywhere in the environment and a camera tool to take snaps inside the environment are unique features of this tool. There is a range of environments to choose from.
The app runs on the desktop browser and the mobile platforms. This is a free app with no limit to the number of participants.
FortKnoxster platform claims military grade security with end to end encryption of data. Video calling, conferencing, texting and real-time chatting are the regular features. The app is free and works on Android and iOS platforms.
Viber is a secure app for online communication. The security features include end to end encryption. It can verify the identity of the speaker and hidden chats. It has a self-destruct timer for the messages. Text, voice and video messages can be sent. Groups can be created. Calls can be made. It operates on all popular platforms and is free.
WeChat is an easy to use app for both professional and personal requirements. This app has extra features like QR code scan, payment option and language translation. It is available on all platforms and can be downloaded on Android and iOS devices.
Group chats with 500 participants and video calls with 9 people can be created. It is entirely free of cost.
Imo provides high quality voice and video calls on weak internet networks. Video and voice calls, conference calls and document sharing can be done without any limitation. This free app operates on Windows, iOS and Android platforms. Real-time conferencing can be done with 20 members.
Spike Video Chat does not have all the features like recording, text messaging, admin control. The advantage of Spike is that it works on the popular platforms of both mobile and desktop. Spike is available free of charge. Any number of participants can be added and there is no constraint on time.
#23: Intermedia AnyMeeting
This app with video conferencing, screen sharing and chat is a cloud-based service that includes VoIP and PBX system capabilities. Meeting URLs can be customized and scheduled. The ability to record and transcribe meetings and the unlimited storage space on the cloud makes this app attractive.
The system is encrypted end to end ensuring security. The app works on all platforms and can hold up to 30 participants depending on the payment plan chosen.
This alternative allows communication through voice calls, video chats and text messages. The live chat option is suited to classroom teaching. Discord is a very popular app being used worldwide though it limits the number of participants to 10. The app is free and works on all web platforms.
This app features video conferencing, interactive podcasts and online workshops. This tool can be useful in tutoring students in higher grades, requiring greater interactions. The app does not come free but can accommodate up to 100 members for a single workshop.
The ultimate choice of the right tool for classroom tutoring is based on the ease of use and pricing. The ease with which the student can sign in, join the class and navigate through the entire session is of prime importance. The pricing of the tool should be within the school budget.
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