Best Alternatives to Skype
Skype is the most used option when it comes to facilitating one-to-one lessons, and is actually the main advantage of using Skype as most of your potential students will either have it or will have heard of it. There are now many alternatives to Skype since Skype became one of the early success stories. Businesses, educators, and families have been using Skype to collaborate, teach, or exchange musings with a loved one. But right now, you might be looking for a Skype alternative, and we can’t blame you for that.
The best alternatives to Skype provide an easy way to connect with people through video and voice calling over the internet. In this blog post, we gathered our favorite Skype alternatives, along with the reasons why we picked them. We also provided some helpful tips on keeping your students engaged using these platforms, so make sure you don’t miss that.
Five Skype Alternatives
Zoom (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux)
Free and Paid | For as low as $14.99 per month
You probably have heard about Zoom. During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom was used by 90,000 schools across 20 countries. And here’s another interesting fact: According to app tracking firm Apptopia, daily downloads for Zoom increased from about 1,700,000 in the middle of February to nearly 2.5 million in late March.
There’s no question that many people have turned to Zoom—not just because it was the trend but majorly because of its outstanding features. When it comes to security, there have been reports about Zoombombing, where internet trolls crash into private Zoom meetings and interrupt by displaying explicit and disturbing imagery.
The issue has pushed the Zoom team to enhance their security and implement new features to keep trolls away. Zoom offers a wide range of features for collaboration and online classes. The whiteboard and annotation tools are perfect for showing math solutions, formulas, or highlighting key points. The screenshare feature makes teaching more manageable and more interactive.
Best of all, the free version can support up to 100 participants. The downside is that the free version has a 40-minute limit. By subscribing to their premium, you can organize webinars and invite a larger group of participants into your online classes without the time limit.
Facebook Messenger (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)
Our next Skype alternative is Facebook Messenger. It’s free and widely available. We use it as an instant messaging app to connect with family and friends. It’s a great app that lets you send pictures, videos, fun stickers, voice clips, GIFs, and even important documents.
Facebook Messenger, however, is more than just an instant messaging app. You can use it for your online class, too. The best thing about this app is that almost everyone has it—your students certainly do. It supports major smartphone devices, and it’s available on desktop, too.
The latest update enables you to create a room that you can make public or private. The public room means everyone in your contacts can enter your room, while the private room provides a link that you can share with your students. Only those with the link can access your room.
Facebook Messenger now has a share screen feature that allows you to show your screen with your participants. The downside is that you cannot share your device’s audio. So, if you’re playing a presentation with sounds embedded in it, it’s not quite a good idea. Nevertheless, if you use it to give a lecture, an interactive class, or feedback, then Facebook Messenger will do the job exceptionally well. Connecting with younger students? Try Messenger Kids. It’s built with children in mind, guaranteeing a child-friendly environment.
Blackboard Collaborate (Windows, macOS)
Blackboard Collaborate is a simple, convenient and reliable online collaborative learning solution that power learner engagement that rivals the face-to-face experience. Because it was designed exclusively for classroom use, Blackboard has an impressively robust range of offerings for schools. It’s a completely digital learning environment (like Google Classroom) that’s already used by 1 in 3 US school districts, with a cutting-edge HD virtual classroom for group video that teachers and students seem to love. It’s also popular at the college level; I spoke with a former university professor of mine who explained they use it school-wide with great success and even integrate Zoom conferencing through their secure Blackboard platform.
Google Meet (Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux)
Free and Paid | For as low as $6 per month
Another excellent Skype alternative is Google Meet. It’s secure and designed for companies, organizations, and educational institutions. Use Google Meet to connect with up to 250 participants without ever compromising video quality. Much like Zoom, Google Meet is equipped with several features ideal for online classes. You can share your screen with your students or record your class for later or for students who can’t attend your class.
Another prominent feature of Google Meet that makes it an excellent Skype alternative is that you can use it to make a live-stream with up to 100,000 in-domain viewers. This means school announcements or events are possible with Google Meet.
Slack (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)
Free and Paid | For as low as $6.67 per month
When it comes to online classes, Slack is another impressive Skype alternative. Although we have all known Slack to be a communication tool for businesses and organizations, you can actually use it to hold online classes and communicate with your students.
The Free Plan lets you do a lot of things—create channels, send files, integrate third-party apps, and more. The downside is that you can only do a one-on-one video and voice call. This is ideal if you’re giving feedback, but to hold an online class, subscribing to their Standard Plan might be the best choice.
The Standard and Plus Plans let you do a video call with up to 15 participants—this is perfect if you handle a small class. Slack is available on several platforms, including Android and iOS.
Cisco Webex Meetings (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)
Free and Premium | For as low as $13.50 per month
Thanks to video conferencing apps, teachers can continue doing what they love the most: teaching. And students continue to learn even when schools are indefinitely shut down. Cisco Webex Meeting is another superior Skype alternative. While it’s designed with businesses and entrepreneurs in mind, you can use all of its features to hold online classes and make them more fun and interactive.
Use Cisco Webex Meeting to conduct live or recorded classes. The whiteboard tool is best for illustrating ideas, collaborating, and brainstorming. Share important documents and resources, and connect with your students in high-definition. Cisco Webex Meeting is truly an outstanding Skype alternative to host an online class.
Discord (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)
Free and Paid | For as low as $9.99 per month
Discord is a popular streaming platform. Gamers use it to communicate with teammates or other players while in-game. But this platform is not just for gaming. It’s a top-tier Skype alternative that you can use to conduct online classes.
The free version lets you call up to 50 participants (the previous limit was 10 participants and was upped in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic). Share your screen with just a few clicks and conduct a fun and engaging lesson using Discord’s clean and user-friendly interface. Discord is relatively easy to use. It’s available in different various platforms, including Android, iOS, and desktop. You can use the desktop app or access it via your browser.