I was asked earlier this week what my favourite online collaborative tool was and although I did suggest one, I didn’t really want to miss some others out. So here are my top 5:
- Wikis – these are, I think, the most flexible tool of all. They can be used just for text but are best when images, video and podcasts are included. Think wikipedia and then try out that model with your class. Can you produce a page about a river in your area, an event that is happening, a period of history being studied, a story?
- Etherpad – this is a great tool for producing text that a group have collaborated on. Etherpad will allow upto 8 people on at any one time. Each person selects a colour so that writing can be identified.
- Voicethread – here images are put together and then comments can be recorded through speech or text. There is an education section that schools and classrooms can sign up for. Voicethread 4 Education is a fantastic wiki that shares how teachers have used Voicethread with examples as is Voice Thread Resources and Ideas.
- Blogs – although there is only one author usually on a blog, the collaboration here takes place between the writer and the readers of the blog. The comments boxes are used to continue a discussion that the blogger has started. Fantastic tools for developing children’s voice and allowing them to write about their own interests.
- Mind-mapping – I have been a fan of mind-mapping for some time and there are now online tools that allow you to map collaboratively. MindMeister is currently my favourite one. This tool allows you to invite others to collaborate on the mind-map and is so simple to use. I use the free basic version but there is an academic version at a much reduced rate. Please feel free to collaborate with me on the mind-map I am creating for a short talk on why children should blog.
The 2009 Horizon Reort: The K12 Edition discusses the reasons why collaboration is so important and also mentions some tools that have proved to be useful and reports about their use. Well worth reading.