What tools do you use for collaboration?  It could be between students/teachers, students/students, or teachers/teachers.

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One of my favorites is Etherpad. It is free and easy to use. It is very effective for seeing who is working within groups due to the colorcoding feature. I also like the chat bar on the side. If you use it, make sure to look at the timeslider. This allows you to see anything that has been written on the board. I always let students know this before we start working, and they always test it.
Etherpad is great but, unfortunately, it's shutting down on April 14th. Google bought it and made the code open-source (so hopefully someone will build a similar service soon). I've heard that something similar may be available through Google Wave soon, though.

In terms of collaboration, though, wikis are great tools. Wikispaces and PB Works both offer free accounts.

Prezi, my new favorite presentation tool, also allows people to work collaboratively to create PowerPoint-like presentations.
Do you know about Microsoft SharedView?


This is like Etherpad, but using Microsoft Word. I have not tried it yet, but you can find several tutorials on Youtube.


Hi Troy,

Some teachers are using microblogs for collaboration between students, teachers, classrooms and parents. When used properly microblogs are a good way for students to share their thoughts and collaborate with each other whether on group projects or for discussions and sharing ideas and facilitating brainstorm sessions. I see a lot of opportunities for groups of students to have joint ownership of a blog or a microblog where they can:

  • have discussions
  • share project research findings
  • share thoughts, ideas
  • develop team work skills
  • practice writing
  • and communicate with each other (on projects, answering each other's questions, etc)

Some math teachers have found a use for microblogs in the classrooms. From back-channel discussions to students posting questions they have while working on homework assignments, microblogs present an interesting way to connect the teacher with students. Posting questions via microblogging is a great alternative to emailing the teacher. By using a microblog it makes it easier for students to ask questions and also creates new learning opportunities. Before, the questions would be locked away in the email inbox where only one student can see the teacher's response, but now with the transparency of an open microblog every students can learn when the teacher responds to one student's question. It also reduces the need for the teacher to answer the same question emailed by multiple students.


I am a recent college graduate and some friends and I have developed a simple online microblogging platform. We have been pilot testing with some teachers in Ann Arbor, MI and found that microblogs really helps to connect students and teachers. When used properly it helps to augment the teacher's teaching effectiveness. And because it's so easy for students to connect with the teachers, the main concern now is how that can sometimes cut into the teacher's own personal time off away from school.


If you would be interested in finding out more about what we are doing, please feel free to connect with me! We are always looking for more educators to help us test-drive our site and work with us to improve it.



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