10 Tools for Classroom Collaboration

Two heads are better than one and, as a teacher, you want to expose your students to the power of group thinking as often as possible.  However, along with working in groups you can face a few challenges.  From students not pulling their weight, to students too shy to participate, it can be hard for group collaboration to be effective. These 10 tools for classroom collaboration allow students to work together online in a less-threatening environment while tracking their participation.

1. Google Docs is the ultimate application for document sharing.  Create or upload a document, presentation, spreadsheet or drawing.  Group members can edit it together, add to it or talk about it in person while making changes or writing things down at the same time.

2. Scriblink offers a virtual whiteboard.  Group members all join the same room through a special URL.  From there they can write or type on the board, draw pictures and upload images.  Use it to create collaborative charts or to brainstorm online.

Corkboard.me 3. Collaborate using sticky notes with Corkboard Me.  Users add content to sticky notes and add the sticky notes to the board.  The notes appear in real-time as multiple users work on the same board.  Students can create to-do lists for projects, group facts and information or create charts with this unique application.

4. Join.me is a place to have a meeting online.  This works well for students who need to meet as a group from home or who just want a unique way to meet.  With audio and video capabilities, students can share a variety of information.  It also gives a teacher a chance to tutor students or present a special lesson outside of the classroom.

5. With Collaborize Classroom, teachers save money by not having to print handouts and other class information and students are given incentives for participating.  Students can interact with one another through discussion boards and polls.


6. Primary Pad works similarly to Google Docs in that it allows users to upload a document and edit it in real-time.  In addition to being able to work on or edit a text at the same time, users can chat about the piece.  Designed for schools, Primary Pad is ideal for teachers and students to collaborate with one another.

7. Similar to Primary Pad, Pirate Pad is an ideal place for groups to collaborate online.  The pad features authorship colors to let you know who is contributing to the group work.  Documents may be uploaded and lines in the pad are numbered for easy reference.

8. Edmodo is a form of social networking for schools.  Place students in groups.  Pose discussion questions.  Start polls.  With an interface similar to some of their favorite social networking sites, you will have no trouble getting students to interact with one another.

9. The premise of Wall Wisher is simple. You’re given a wall and you can add what you want to it.  Items are posted to the wall using sticky notes.  Multiple users can post sticky notes to share ideas or create to-do lists.  Different colors of sticky notes make it easy to organize information.

10. Edistorm is another resource that uses sticky notes to help group members generate ideas.  Each user has a different color of sticky note, making it easy to know who is participating.  Ideas can be voted on by other users or further discussed.  All ideas can be turned into a PDF report or spreadsheet and e-mailed.

As students use these collaboration resources, they will harness the power of combined thinking to maximize their learning.