Thanks to educational technology, today’s students have a multitude of learning resources at their fingertips. There’s such an overwhelming number of resources available, in fact, that it can be hard to know which ones work best in the classroom. This is especially true of collaboration tools, which can be difficult for students to use. Some sites and programs may even open a new avenue for cyberbullying. Here are five outstanding online collaboration tools for classroom use.
Students may spend a lot of money on flashcards when preparing for tests, only to throw their flashcards away as soon as they’re finished. Quizlet is a website and an app that allows students to create digital flashcards. Flashcards can be sorted into sets and sets can be arranged into classes.
The best part about Quizlet is its sharing abilities. Students can make a set of flashcards for a test then share that set with the rest of their class. This allows students to split up the workload as well. You can even divide the material into sections and have each student make cards for one of those sections.
Quizlet also provides students with a variety of interactive study tools. After making a set, students have the option to study their cards in six different ways. There’s also an adaptive learning mode that combines all study tools for the optimal learning experience.
Group Me is a great way to tackle communication for group projects. This tool is both a website and an app that streamlines group communication. The software lends itself to creating large groups. As photos are visible next to each message, it’s easy to distinguish between users. Group members also have the option to “like” messages, which makes voting easy.
One of the most appealing aspects of this application is the way it shields privacy. You can add members by their name and also their email, which eliminates the need for students to share their phone number with other people in their class just to complete a group project.
Google Drive and Google Docs
Google Drive is an amazing way to share files between students. It eliminates the need for students to save drafts to their computers again and again as group members update their portions. Google Drive allows students to access a variety of tools, from spreadsheets to slideshow presentations to a word processor.
By sharing a Google Doc, students can see who’s working on what element of the project, which helps groups stay organized. Updates occur automatically. When one person edits a document, the entire group receives those edits instantly. Better yet, both Google Drive and Google Docs are free if you have a Gmail address.
One potential downside is that students may use Google Docs to bully each other. Students can chat through Google Docs or simply share and write on a document together. In this way, Google Docs may become a place where students can communicate and bully in the classroom, bypassing school social media bans. That being said, the benefits of Google Docs far outweigh the costs. Plus, with monitoring software like LearnSafe installed on school devices, students are assured of a safe digital learning environment — online and offline — at all times.
With Drawp for School, teachers can set up classes wherein all students can work together. This app allows students to collaborate on projects through drawing, stickers, text, and other fun materials. It also gives teachers the ability to create groups, assignments, and other learning resources that students can interact with in a fun and unique way.
Additionally, Drawp for School has made sharing easy for younger students through an easy, swiping-based platform. All students have to do is swipe to send their work to another teacher, student, or family member.
Kahoot is a fun application that makes quizzes and review sessions feel like a game — literally. Teachers can make their own Kahoots by typing in or importing class materials. Kahoots can be used as a last-minute review before a test or as a learning mechanism throughout the class. Students each choose a nickname privately, which eliminates embarrassment for students who miss questions.
Teachers will have a pin number for their Kahoot that they share with students. Students open their Kahoot app or visit the website and type in their pin. The questions and answer choices appear on the board and students answer on their own devices.
Students are assigned a rank as they answer questions, based on what they’ve answered right and wrong. The competitiveness of this game inspires students to use the material they learned in class, which helps them prepare for tests and quizzes. Additionally, students can find Kahoots online to study on their own. Teachers can also export their Kahoots as PDFs so that students can use a hard copy as a study tool.