Web 2.0 in the Classroom – Part 6

Collaboration is a snap with web 2.0

A huge benefit of web 2.0 in the classroom and educational technology is the ability for students to collaborate. The level of interaction varies greatly from website to website and ranges from synchronous to asynchronous. Let’s explore some great collaboration sites for the classroom.

Real-time collaboration

Ultimate synchronous collaboration can be achieved with TitanPad. This site, built with the EtherPad engine, lets students create online workspaces, called pads, to simultaneously edit documents. It works in real-time so you can see the document being edited before your eyes. Participants are each given a different color so you can visually determine who is making edits. A chat feature is also included so students can “talk” about their project outside of the work area. A cool feature for teachers is the Time Slider. When you click it, you can playback all of the edits like a movie. You can easily see which students worked on the project and when they added content.

Tip: Don’t use TitanPad with a large group of students. The real-time editing will create chaos! Up to four students per pad is recommended.

 

Use TitanPad whenever you assigning group writing assignments. Students can work together on their assignment from any internet connected device and download the product as a Word document.

Web 2.0 in the Classroom

Microblogging mania

Microblogging is all the rage right now with Twitter being the most prevalent. You can also use Twitter-like sites such as TodaysMeet or Edmodo. If you don’t want to mess with students accounts, TodaysMeet is the best choice.

Web 2.0 in the Classroom

Organize group projects with web 2.0

ThinkFold is a collaborative environment with functionality way beyond TitanPad. It allows synchronous collaboration in a shared workspace. Groups can share and organize ideas, images and files. Like TitanPad, changes are seen in real-time.

Thinkfold is a great tool when students are working on a research paper together. They can outline their information and add supporting files. You can join in as well to make suggestions.

Web 2.0 in the Classroom

Private social networks

An online community for your school is a great way to share content and teach students how to use social networking in a productive manner. Most schools do not want to use mainstream social networks such as Facebook. However, many alternatives exist to create a private social network within your school. Listed below are several free social network creation sites.

  • Wall.fm is always completely free which great for schools.
  • BigTent is completely free and loaded with features.
  • Grouply is another excellent free social network site.
  • Spruz is an online community builder with lots of nice features. It’s free unless you start using a lot of bandwidth or need more features.

Use private social networks to share digital content created throughout the school. The students in your first period class would love to view and comment on the work of your second period class. It’s also a great way to frontload lessons by having students participate in online discussions as homework before your lesson. Teachers report much better results when they assign reading followed by online discussion than just reading alone.

Web 2.0 in the Classroom

You just explored more ways to use web 2.0 in the classroom as collaboration tools. In the next post in this series on web 2.0 in the classroom, we’ll look at some great brainstorming web 2.0 sites.

What sites are you using? Please post a comment and thank you so much for reading the educational technology blog Teach Amazing!