Kevin Kelly, senior editor at Wired magazine, noted in his 2016 book The Inevitable that the web had evolved in unexpected ways…and one of them was “screening.” Digital technology has provided new ways to engage students collaboratively.
There are many videoconferencing tools on the market, and with the COVID19 pandemic, several have quickly filled the void for real time discussions.
Zoom has quickly become the default videoconferencing app, providing cloud video conferences, online meetings, cross platform group chats.
The original Google Hangouts is no more, but it has morphed into Google Hangouts Meet, where you can hold impromptu video meetings on the go, virtual training classes around the world, remote interviews, and much more.
Integrated into Office 365 and a serious competitor to Slack, it provides online meetings for large groups, file sharing, and group breakouts.
Also owned by Microsoft, it is useful for one-to-one interactions as well as group conversations. However, I recommend Teams as the more robust of the two.
Clark defined collaboration tools as ones that allowed interactive discussions, activities, sharing and accessing learning resources, and more. Her top tools included:
For sharing digital content and improving the engagement of the students. It has two versions (for school and for business), and provides a controlled learning environment that helps the teacher to enhance the writing process. Padlet can be used for special brainstorm sessions, book review sessions, portfolio for showcasing their best school projects, and as a feedback tool to provide an assessment of students’ works.
This is a toolbox for teachers that takes classroom management to another level. With TodaysMeet, this task becomes so much easier because of a wide variety of available functions, including discussion forums, peer teaching, meetings, presentations, and online seminars.
Virtualizing student content has never been easier! Socrative is an innovative platform for activities that engage students. quizzes featuring the most interesting topics from the lesson, reporting to enhance the students’ understanding of the class on an individual level, chat and discussion rooms to promote online collaboration, a “Space Race” feature that encourages friendly competition among students with intergalactic quiz bowl, and feedback to improve the experience of the students throughout the course.
One of the most popular online collaborative tools for teachers is this “web-based meeting playground.” It allows the class to perform Internet research collaboratively and share their findings with each other and the teacher. This is a great tool for those teachers who want to prepare K-12 students for writing college papers because it involves a lot of writing assignments.
This is a topic library where teachers can find, create, share, and download inquiry-based discussions on any educational topic.
An online collaboration platform that is perfect for students because it provides many incentives for teamwork as well as great technology to engage in creative work. It also allows for adding more classes to one discussion, and you can save the chat transcript.
Hart (2018) also listed a different set of collaboration and team tools more suited for higher education:
- Whereby – offers video conversations for up to 8 people for free
- Slack – team collaboration tool, for real time messaging and file sharing.
- Trello – a fast and easy way organize anything – from day-to-day work to personal projects. Available for both personal and collaborative use.
- Sharepoint – an integrated suite of products from Microsoft to create a social intranet and collaboration portal.
- G Suite – (previously known as Google Apps) is a service from Google providing everything you need in one package: Gmail, Google Docs, Drive and more that can be branded for your own school or organisation.
- Asana – a web and mobile application designed to help corporate teams track their work.
- Podio – a web-based platform for organizing team communication, business processes and content in team workspaces.