After the government closed all schools, they introduced a digital education in Hungary during which children have to use several platforms to communicate with their teachers and classmates. Child protection online collected the most important information for parents about the platforms their children are now using.
Facebook Messenger: accessible both from desktop and smartphone, it can be used to send texts, photos, videos, and to launch video conferences. The age limit for registration is 13. It is linked with Instagram, so it can easily distract students. Since these programs collect a lot of data about the users (the so-called digital footprint), it is important not to share any personal data and not to get in touch with people they do not know.
WhatsApp: the parameters are the same as above, but the registration only requires a phone number. It also allows buying and selling products, and the age limit for registration is 13 years, too. Owned by Facebook,
it collects a lot of data as well,
monitoring not only the geographical location of the user but also their relationships, etc.
Viber: The application works like the above-mentioned ones, but it promises end-to-end encryption, and it also allows sending self-destroying messages that can be dangerous in the case of cyberbullying. A QR-code reader is built in, but its use should not be allowed for students. Provided that students use their account, they should not give any personal information, and notifications should be switched off as well.
Child protection online recommends all three apps to be used under parental supervision, and, if possible, through the account of one of the parents so that students’ activity can be monitored easily.
Skype: we can also send written messages by using it, and we can organise video conferences in which a maximum of 24 people can take part so it can function well even for classes. The age limit for registration is the same as above, but with parental compliance, even children under 13 can register. However,
they are invisible to unknown people.
Google Hangouts: the program’s main advantage is that it is owned by Google, so it can be combined with many of the company’s other apps and products. Children under 13 can use it only with parental supervision.
Zoom: it is widely used for video conferences, and even its free version can be used by more than 100 people. It only requires an email address, students can join meetings by a code provided by their teacher, and the conversations can be recorded.
GoToMeeting: LogMeIn, the developer of the platform, allows educational institutions to use it for free for 3 months, and people can join the conferences even without registration.
Discord: used mostly by gamers before, this platform creates a private server for its users on which they can create rooms and channels, and thus organise meetings and exchange information. People who would like to join need an invitation in order to avoid strangers getting in their classroom. If the student already has an account for gaming, it is advised they create another one they use for educational purposes.
Slack: a very good platform for communication and cooperation that can be used for educational purposes as well. Students need an invitation to join. There is an opportunity to use hashtags and share documents. Therefore,
it can be used safely even by elementary school students.
Google Classroom: it simplifies the teacher-student cooperation since it provides an opportunity not only for communication but also for sending tasks, uploading documents, and holding courses. Students can take up courses after they get a code from their teacher, so it is a private, and therefore safe, system. If children under 13 register, the system requires fewer data.
Microsoft Teams: this application is part of the Office365 package. It is a private system, and students need an invitation to join. Children under 13 can register under parental supervision.
this application was developed by Hungarians.
It is free during the coronavirus crisis. Teachers can create their virtual classrooms, they can hold video conferences, share tasks, and upload documents. It provides a good opportunity for gamification, and teachers can evaluate tasks with the help of it. The system is private, and it does not collect any sensitive data.
Edmodo: this is a safe platform specialised in serving educational purposes, and it can be equally used by parents, students, and teachers. It is not a private system, so teachers can communicate with each other on it. One of the biggest advantages is that parents can also join them and monitor the activity of their children. It is also accessible on a smartphone.
ClassDojo: designed mostly for 8-9-year-old children, it is also a classroom, but gamification has a much more important role in it.
LearningApps: there is no need for an email address to sign up as this is an online task-making platform that enables creating a variety of exercises from multiple choice to horserace. Teachers can create classrooms (groups) and student accounts with restricted access.
Redmenta: developed by Hungarians, Redmenta can be used on computers and smartphones as well. Evaluation is easy with the help of this program, and teachers can also give a time frame for each task. After publishing the exercise sheet, teachers can create groups in which they allow students to do the tasks.