Top Web Tools for Enhancing Collaboration

11/1/2010 4:05:00 PM

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 any curriculum.

¦ 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 share files.

¦ 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 for collaborative 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 other pages.

¦ 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 voice.

¦ 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 tables.

¦ 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.

¦ 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 it’s free.

¦ 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 you there.

¦ 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 can participate.

¦ 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 application.

¦ 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 single view.

¦ 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 whiteboard.

¦ 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 the loop.

¦ 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 with others.

¦ 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 with others.

¦ 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.

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