Top Web Tools for Enhancing Collaboration
By Özge Karaoglu
It’s not news that collaboration is a proven method for
effective teaching, and Web 2.0 has enlarged the
possibility of peer collaboration to a global scale.
What follows is some of the coolest tools you can use
to kick-start collaborative projects in your district in
¦ AwesomeHighlighter is the easiest way to highlight
texts on Web pages. When you finish highlighting, you get
a link and share it with others. If you like this, you should
also try Markkit.
¦ Board800 is a multi-user-shared interactive whiteboard
with simultaneous access and drawing capabilities.
Users can use each page independently, and each user can
see the changes on each page.
¦ CoSketch is another whiteboard
that you can collaborate
on to visualize your ideas and
share them as images. The good
thing is that you don’t have to
register or install anything. It
works in all browsers, it’s real
time, and you can get an embed code for your drawing
after you finish.
¦ Creately lets you create professional-looking online
diagrams with your colleagues.
¦ With CubeTree, you can create wikis, blogs, profiles,
and feeds for your groups.
¦ DabbleBoard is a whiteboard
that enables you to visualize,
explore, and collaborate. It
also lets you conduct presentations
and chat, though you cannot
¦ Dimdim is a tool for hosting
or attending online meetings and Webinars. You can
give presentations, share Web pages, voice, and video; you
can record your own voice without installing anything. t is
a similar tool.
¦ DoingText is a
Web-based text editor
writing. You tell others
the URL, and they write
comments and make
changes without signing
up. It lets you track changes
and comments by RSS feed
and export text by embedding in
¦ Drop.io is a simple real-time sharing and collaboration
tool that lets you share text, video, and audio. You can also
create online collaborative presentations and record your
¦ EditGrid is an online spreadsheet.
You can share the spreadsheet
with other users, many
users can edit at the same time,
and you can embed charts and
¦ EtherPad is a Web-based word processor that lets you
work with others at the same time. When several users are
working on the same documents simultaneously, you can
get feedback immediately. You know who contributed to
the text, and all changes are saved on the server in case
you have to undo.
¦ Flashmeeting is a tool for meeting people anywhere in
the world. You book a meeting time and create a password
that you share with others you want to collaborate with, and
voilà! collaboration starts here.
¦ FlockDraw is a real-time collaborative-drawing tool.
¦ Grou.ps lets you create your own social network. You
can create your forum or mailing list; share documents,
files, and your agenda for organizing events; have your own
YouTube; and share links, bookmarks, and photos. You can
chat in real time, you can let the users have subgroups, and
¦ If you are using
Twitter, you may want to try
GroupTweet. It lets you turn
your Twitter account into a
group communication tool
with which everyone in the
group uses direct messages.
When a member receives a
DM, GroupTweet turns it into a
new tweet that all followers in the group can see.
¦ ImaginationCubed is a multi-user drawing tool.
You can use a pen, stamps, shapes, or lines, or you
can type. You can also change the color of the background.
¦ LucidChart is another way to collaborate on
a document simultaneously. Everyone can see the
changes that have been made to the document. What
makes it different from the other word processors is
that it has built-in group chat.
¦ With MeBeam, you can create your chat room. You
just type the name of the room and tell people to meet
¦ With Metanotes, you can create sticky notes on an
online board and collaborate with friends.
¦ Mindmeister is an
online collaborative mindmapping
tool with which
you can brainstorm with
others in real time. You
can create your own mind
maps on an award-winning
interface or share them with
your friends, or collaborate
with others to create a map.
¦ Mixbook lets you create picture books with others.
You start creating your own book and then invite a few
friends to build the rest of the book with you.
¦ PageFlakes is a personalized social homepage that
you can customize using “flakes,” which are small, movable
widgets of all your Web favorites. You can add Facebook,
Twitter, Flickr, photos, music, videos, a calendar, a to-do list,
a message board, and an RSS feed.
¦ PalBee is a free online service that allows you to set
up online video meetings with friends or colleagues. You
also have a whiteboard, and it lets you draw, write texts,
highlight, and erase by using different tools.
¦ Phuser is a tool for groups to use to discuss or work
together or privately. You can share photos and files,
choose who joins, and create and track discussions.
¦ PrimaryPad is another collaborative tool for schools.
It’s a Web-based processor for collaborating with students
in real time.
¦ Protagonize is a community that writes collaborative
interactive fiction. One person starts the story, and others
post chapters to the story that lead it in different directions.
In the end it becomes an evolving story in which everyone
¦ Protonotes are notes you add to your prototype to
identify areas for discussion and collaboration; it’s more like
a discussion-board wiki.
¦ Senduit lets you upload your
files and share them with your
team by means of private links.
¦ With Shwp, you can share
your photos and video with people
you’ve chosen. You can invite
your friends and collaborate with
them by uploading videos and pictures.
¦ SpringNote is an online notebook for collaboration.
You can write down your ideas, create to-do lists, schedule,
and work together on projects. It also has an iPhone
¦ With Stintio, you can create your own chat in seconds.
You can invite people to join simply by sending a link. You
don’t download or install anything. Your chat will be deleted
if it is not active for a while.
¦ Stixy lets you create online bulletin boards for collaborating
with family, friends, and colleagues. You can
share pictures, files, reminders, and notes by using different
widgets whose size and color you can change. It’s fun, free,
easy, and colorful.
¦ StoryBirds are
short, simple stories that
connect you with others.
Two or more people can
create a Storybird by
taking turns writing their
own text and inserting
pictures. You can create
your story with the person sitting next to you or with
someone far away.
¦ Survs lets you create online surveys by collaborating
with others in multi-user accounts. You can collect responses
and analyze the results with others in real time.
¦ TextFlow is a way to review all versions of a document
instantly to produce a final draft. It compares all the
versions of the text to show you all the suggestions in a
¦ Tgether allows you to
communicate within small
groups by means of emails.
You can share files, track
conversations, and manage
your group. You can share
codes or use third-party applications that Tgther provides.
¦ Thinkature places an instant message inside a visual
workspace with voice chat. You can use it as an environment
for collaboration, a meeting room, or a personal
¦ Thinklinker lets you create outlines in your Web
browser. You can collaborate in real time and share outlines.
You can also use chat while collaborating.
¦ Twiddla lets you mark Web sites, graphics, and photos
or use a blank canvas to brainstorm. You don’t have to
download or use any plug-ins.
¦ Twiducate is a social
networking tool for schools.
You create an online community
for your classroom
and share ideas, discuss,
post questions, create surveys,
and keep parents in
¦ TypeWithMe is collaborative text synchronized as you
type. This means that others with whom you are sharing the
page can see what you are writing as you write it.
¦ Useapollo is online image proofing for documents,
graphics, pictures, Web design, maps, and more. You can
see all the documents your team is working on.
¦ I’m sure many of you are familiar with VoiceThread. It’s
a tool for conversing by means of different media. It’s one
of the best ways to talk about and share your images, documents,
or videos. You create your Voicethread, and others
leave comments by telephone, text, Webcam, microphone,
and file upload.
¦ Voxli allows you to hold
voice conferences online. You
can have a voice chat with as
many as 200 people. You can
invite your teammates merely
by sending a link, and you
don’t have to upload anything.
You can use “push to talk” to
speak even if you are out of your browser.
¦ Voxopop is a message-board system that lets you
create talk groups with which you can discuss and collaborate
by using your voice. Some of you may remember that
Voxopop was formerly Chinswing. You can listen to public
discussions, though you must join to create your own. You
can easily send group invitations and make your discussion
private, open, or restricted. You can
delete it whenever you want.
¦ Wallwisher is an online noticeboard
maker. You can use this tool to
make announcements and keep notes. You
can use links, pictures, music, video, and pages.
You don’t have to register.
¦ WebCanvas is a collaborative-painting project. You
can paint using basic tools, you can upload or post professionally
drawn images, or you can watch others paint live.
This is an interesting project for artists, though the rest of
us can give it a try too.
¦ Webnote is a tool for taking notes on your computer.
You can also share your notes with others by giving the
workspace name or the URL.
¦ WeToku is an interview tool that automatically records
the interview to play it back. You can embed it and share it
¦ Wiggio is an online
tool kit that lets you work in
groups easily. You can send
emails, text messages, and
voice mails. It makes it easy
to share files and polls. You can set up video conferences
and also keep a shared calendar as well as keep track of your
group’s tasks and resources.
¦ WikiDot is a wiki builder you can use to share content
and documents and collaborate with your students, colleagues,
and friends. You can create pages, forums, and
separate wikis for groups or students; discuss topics; and
upload files, documents, notes, and images and share them
¦ Wikispaces is the best way to create collaborative
Web pages that you can edit and share. You can watch
Wikis in Plain English by Common Craft or visit the world’s
largest collaborative online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
¦ Woices is an interesting tool for sharing “echoes” that
are linked to specific geographic locations or real-life objects.
¦ Wridea is an online idea-management service and
a collection of brainstorming tools. You store, manage,
organize, and share your ideas to improve them. You use
the Web interface, or you write an email to your Wridea
address to keep your ideas organized. You have pages and
categories that let you improve your ideas easily and collaboratively.
¦ WriteBoard is a Web-based text document on which
you can track every edit and change made by other users.
You can roll back to any version and compare versions.