EtherPad – A Free And Easy Collaboration Tool : No Sign Up – No Log In


Welcome to another mid week posting highlighting a Great Web Catch. Collaboration is one of those important 21st Century Skills for students and a needed process for teacher planning. Recently EtherPad, a plain and simple collaboration tool, was purchased by Google to be incorporated in the Google Wave product. This review covers the strengths of EtherPad and how it will continue to live in the open sources world and as a foundation for Google Wave. As always visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki for even more resources to transform today’s education for tomorrow’s needs! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

EtherPad has been known as a valuable tool, allowing instant  and  easy collaboration for students and teachers.  As the site proclaims, “Etherpad is simply the most frictionless way to get people on the same page.” The real attraction to EtherPad is the lack of requirement for a user account, sign in, or email. As you are aware, this is a definite plus in the educational setting.  The collaboration is easy!  All that is needed is a visit to http://etherpad.com and  a press of a button called Create Public Pad. After this quick process, a new public pad is created for the user in Etherpad . The user then shares the URL  for the pad with up to sixteen others. What ever is typed from where ever, is displayed on the page in real time. There is even a chat window!  This is a great tool for those that need to bring up a quick collaboration tool on the fly. It is useful in the classroom for students to communicate point of need help in Project Based Learning, collaborate as a group, keep teacher aware of group progress, communicate beyond walls, and interview authors and experts. It allows teachers to collaborate on text documents, keep meeting notes, and draft plans. EtherPad allows each line entered by a collaborator  to have a different number for easy reference. Authors are also given color codes and can even be given a label or name. Best of all, work can be saved and exported as an HTML, plain text, bookmarked file, Microsoft Word, PDF, or Open document. Different revisons can be documented and a time slider is provided to show when revisions are made.  Users must be aware that the only way  to keep open pads private is to safeguard the URL. For this reason private information should not be shared. Take a look at this list of frequently asked questions and view a tour of the product. Recently, EtherPad’s creator AppJet was purchased by Google for the new Google Wave product.  It is currently going through a restructuring to an open source format. It is also being used as a foundation for Google’s soon to be publicly released Google Wave  product.  While it is a goal, Google Wave doesn’t yet have all the functionality of Etherpad. The people at both Google and Appjet are confident that in the long term users will be pleased with the transition to Google Wave . In the mean time, Etherpad is a great way to introduce plain and simple collaboration and may allow you to soon catch the Google Wave! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

3 Comments

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3 responses to “EtherPad – A Free And Easy Collaboration Tool : No Sign Up – No Log In

  1. Hello there – just a little note to say thanks for this article. Very well-written.

  2. Nice!, discovered your post on Ask.Happy I finally tried it out. Unsure if its my Explorer browser,but sometimes when I visit your site, the fonts are really small? However, love your page and will be back.Bye

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