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Online teaching apps: must-haves and nice-to-haves

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Online teaching apps



You've had that ‘AHA!’ moment where you have realized your worth, and you feel ready to put your potential to the test. Starting your own ESL business can be quite daunting as there are literally thousands of software programs available promising to transform your students' learning experience.

Like all aspiring English language teachers around the world, software developers have jumped on the teach-English-online bandwagon too. They are all delivering that WOW factor, and honestly, it’s very difficult to choose what will suit your needs best.

The best place to start is right at the beginning. Let’s go through the must-haves and the nice-to-haves:-

The Must-Haves:

  • Online presence
  • Booking software
  • Online payment service
  • Video conferencing software


The Nice-to-Haves:

  • Teaching materials
  • Vlog or Blog
  • Design software


Building your online presence:

As a teacher-entrepreneur, you are the company; if you don’t market your teaching services, no one will. This will result in you having few to no students, and ultimately, the failure of your business. 

Social media is a great way to advertise your online teaching. Additionally, creating a business website is a sure way to guarantee that you portray yourself as a serious ESL professional.


All-in-one platforms

All-in-one platforms are the most convenient, but they may come with an attached price tag.

Two popular all-in-one platforms: 

  1. Kajabi – an old favorite amongst teacher-entrepreneurs. With endless features such as a website and email marketing, it is effortlessly user-friendly. Not enjoying Kajabi? Simply contact the efficient customer service team within the first 28 days of your subscription to cancel. 
  2. GrooveFunnels – the new kid on the block offering a dynamic suite of digital marketing tools. Website and page builder, email lists, streaming, scheduling, and much more. There is a free version with some limitations.


Other all-in-ones to consider:

  1. Thinkific 
  2. Teachable 


Booking/scheduling software: 

Now that your time is your own, it’s essential that you optimize every second in order to be successful. First and foremost, ensuring that your students are able to see your availability to book lessons is vital. Providing them with options will make it easier for them to pick and choose dates and times which are most convenient for them.

List of APPS:

  1. Calendly – they have really thought of everything that an online teacher needs. Integration with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and PayPal; time zone detection (eliminate time zone confusion for students globally) and email + text reminders (increase student show rates and have more productive meetings).
  2. Picktime – user-friendly integration with Zoom or Google Meet; no need to have a website; create a booking page. 

Other booking/scheduling software to consider:

  1. Smoothbook 
  2. Appointy


Video conferencing platform:

As a teacher, having a classroom is a non-negotiable requirement. The fact that you’re an online teacher does not change that fact. It’s imperative that you have a reliable platform that has features that fit your teaching needs.

Although Skype still remains a popular industry veteran, the following have taken the virtual teaching world by storm:

  1. Zoom – where do I start? Breakout rooms (group classes); virtual whiteboard; recording; annotation tools; and document sharing, to mention a few. 
  2. Google Classroom – it’s all in the name. Offering a class drive folder in which you can create assignments and questions and assign them to your students. Use topics to organize classwork into modules or units, and lastly, and schedule communication posts to keep your students on their toes. 

Other video conferencing considerations:

  1. Moodle 
  2. Schoology 


Payment methods:

When it comes to choosing how you would like to receive your money from around the world, it’s a personal preference depending on which country you live in. It’s important to choose the bank which offers you the best rate in your country of residence. Here are a few popular favorites:

  • PayPal 
  • Payoneer 
  • TransferWise
  • The Nice-to-Haves:
  • Teaching materials:

With thousands of lesson plans available on the web, subscribing to apps offering teaching materials is not essential. With that said, the following are difficult to say no to:

Teaching materials APPS:

  • Off2Class 
  • Kahoot!
  • Bamboozle 
  • Nearpod 
  • Quizlet 
  • Vlog and Blog:

Don’t underestimate the power of vlogging and blogging. Blogs have been around since the inception of the world wide web. Be sure to incorporate them on your website. Vlogs, however, were once far less popular. This has changed drastically. 

With millions and billions of subscribers, YouTube is the kingpin of vlogging. Many people are not aware of the fact that YouTube has a lot in common with Google: they are both search engines. Blogging and vlogging can be incorporated into the marketing section of your teaching business. Get your name out there!

Last but not least, don’t forget about Canva, a graphic design software which can be used for all your social media and email designs. This app will take your branding to new heights.


If you don’t opt for an all-in-one ‘must-have’ app, make sure that your selections are able to integrate for ease of functionality and convenience.

To begin with choose free versions of the apps. With so many options, no one will stop you from trying on for size to find the best fit. When the time is right, re-evaluate your business requirements as you progress and become profitable.

Your earning potential is determined by one variable when using these apps: you. 

Are you willing to do what it takes to start from scratch?







Pocket passport (online reservations)


-written by Claire Satchwell