Top 5 Collaboration Tools for your Classroom
Part 1 of a 3 Part Implementation Blog Series
In today’s society, students must know how to collaborate with others. There are few professions in which people are able to sit quietly at their desk and not communicate or collaborate with anyone. So, why would we want our students doing that? Collaboration used to be assigning group projects during class and allowing them to work on the poster together or a miniature group discussion to develop an overarching idea to share with the class. With curriculum, standards, and technology integration changing, how is a teacher supposed to keep up with the new collaboration best practices? We’ve compiled our top 5 favorite EdTech collaboration tools that teachers simply should not live without. Read about them below!
This digital post-it board can be used for a variety of activities, both inside and outside of class. Students are given the link to a Padlet wall in which they can post. Organization can vary between grid views, brick layouts, backchannel environments, and one of my personal favorites: the shelf. Use this tool for flipped learning discussions, book and idea sharing, as well as a resource hub for staff or students! Want a different way to discuss without it being a typical discussion board or hand raise? Padlet is your user-friendly way to get your kids actively engaged in discussion.
Remember the days when your teachers assigned random numbers to your papers, shuffled them up, and passed them out for peer grading? Yeah, I blocked out those memories, too. All that anxiety of someone possibly seeing your name on the paper had me shaking in my boots during instruction. Peergrade is an intuitive tool to assist students and teachers in peer grading through technology. This tool allows papers to be truly anonymous when their peers review their work. Upload rubrics, see student feedback, and watch your peer grading come alive digitally!
We know our students use Twitter frequently. We may even be in denial that they use it during class! Instead of fighting it, because it’s not going away, use Twitter for educational purposes! Create hashtags for homework help or as a live Twitter chat during your instruction. Let students learn respectful digital citizenship through one of their social media favorites! Twitter can be used for students (homework help, announcements, instructional twitter chats), but is also a GREAT professional development tool for teachers! Find a Twitter chat or a few professionals for you to follow and grow your #PLN! Check out this extensive list of educational chats and join one today!
Graphic organizers have become digital with MindMeister! Create mind, concept, or relationship maps to organize projects, to do lists, or instructional notes. This flexible tool allows learners to incorporate these mind maps as presentations if necessary, or share them with classmates and teachers to work collaboratively. Don’t draw the old “spider web” brainstorming organizer anymore – start using MindMeister to develop your thoughts collaboratively and digitally!
My desk and computer were filled with colorful post-it notes of to-do lists, student notes, parent contact notes, focus curriculum/standards of the week, upcoming unit topics, and so much more! That all changed once I began using, and fell in love with, Google Keep. Google Keep is Google’s easy way for you to keep track of all those post-its, but digitally! Share your to-do lists with your colleagues, create reminders, or even just make your grocery list; all in one place! You no longer have to keep up with the paper, hoping it doesn’t lose its stickiness and fall behind your desk. Everything is in one place for you to see! In fact, they even have a Chrome Extension to make it even easier for you!
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