Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration In Project Based Learning

Welcome to the second in a series of PBL Mania Posts. For the next few weeks I am celebrating Project Based Learning by hosting a webinar at Edtech Leaders Online and giving a PBL session at the NICE Conference in Chicago. In this post I will introduce you to some outstanding collaboration tools found on the web that can be used in the PBL classroom.  Before reading  please take a moment to subscribe to this 21centuryedtech Blog by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  You will not want to miss this series or future posts involving STEM, Flipping the Classroom, Technology Integration, Common Core, and 21st Century Skills,  So Sign Up Now! As always… thanks and have a great week.  – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

First Some Notes For PD This Week

1. STEM educators may wish to join Hall Davidson from Discovery Education in a webinar entitled Making Mobile Media Meaningful in (and Beyond!) Your STEM Classroom on Feb 1, 2012 at 7 PM EST. Click here to register.

2. Join a distinguished group at Future We Create on Thursday, Feb 2, 2012 at 7 PM EST.  Explore how improvements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education can generate greater workforce readiness in the United States. Beginning with a video presentation, and followed by an online chat, The Future of Science Education: STEM and Workforce Readiness will examine both the broad set of issues facing STEM education and hone in on project-based learning models. Here is a Quick Preview.

10 Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration in PBL

This PBL Mania post will explore some of those collaborative Web 2.0 tools that can enhance the PBL experience. Allowing students to network while immersed in PBL is so important. This could include communication and collaboration student to student, student to teacher, and student to expert. Below you will find a small collection of tools that might just help make collaboration even more amazing through the use of the online environment. Whenever using any online tool make sure students are practicing good digital citizenship and responsibility. Also be sure you are aware of your school’s AUP and each site’s user policy. Now let’s take a look at some of these tools.

Titan Pad – Great way for quick collaboration and sharing a document. No email or sign in needed. You will soon see that TitanPad is really a simplistic Google Doc… without the fuss!  All that is needed to use TitanPad is a visit and then press of a button called Create Public Pad. Learn more from a prior post that also lists ways to use in class.

Wall Wisher – Like collaborating with virtual post-it notes on a virtual wall. It really has lots of uses. There are so many ways to incorporate Wall Wisher in the classroom. Make sure you take a look.

Corkboardme – A program a lot like wall wisher that can be used to support a group’s collaborative activities. A premium version does allow for some privacy features.

Google Docs – Not much needs to be said. Google Docs is probably the king of online collaboration. This link brings you to the free school version. What an amazing way to facilitate live and real time digital collaboration.

Microsoft Live – Yes, Microsoft also has its online collaboration tools. This is also the school link.

Today’s Meet – Great way to run a back channel in the classroom. You will discover countless ways to use this in the classroom and engage learning.  TodaysMeet gives you and your students a somewhat isolated room where you can see only what you need to see.  Plus, your audience doesn’t need to learn any new tools like hash tags, logins, nor do they need to create accounts. Learn the ten ways that I show to use in your classroom.

Will You Type With Me – Same opportunities as Titan Pad with some added features. These include the ability to import additional files along with Word. These additional files include PDF and HTML. Also allows for output to these same files along with Open Doc, Plain Text, and even Wordle. To be useful with Wordle one should put a space after any one word entries and the last word of any entry. Also has a timeline revision function along with the ability to create QR Code Read Only pages.

Linoit – Discover a digital online tool that can serve educators and students in multiple ways. Imagine an electronic classroom display board. One that could leave the classroom and be visible on any computer screen anywhere. Now, dream about the ability to create it in minutes using multi-color post it notes, pictures, drawings, web links, and even videos. Better yet… kids can contribute by being given a URL… no login needed! Best of all it is fast, easy to use, and dependable. Why not click here to discover 50 ways I have included for use in the classroom?

Skype in Education – I am sure you can find many ways to incorporate Skype in the classroom.  The ability to work together collaboratively is a natural part of Skype. Imagine being able to bring in experts from across the city, state, nation, and world. In fact… did you know there is a Skype in education page? Make sure you check it out for your PBL activity. Read more about Skype in Education. While you are at it you may want to check this post that describes fifty ways to use Skype in the classroom.

Quick Screen Share – It is sometimes helpful to share a screen. Here is a great site from the people at Screencast-O-Matic, one of my favorite screen capture tools. Take a look at this video describing the process. Quick Screen Share  is the simplest way to share screens with anybody:

  • No registration required and completely free.
  • Nothing to install for sharer or sharee (assuming you have Java).
  • Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Even lets you remotely control mouse and keyboard!

Thanks for joining me and for learning about this 21st century learning tool. Join me in future weeks as together we continue this series on PBL Mania. After that, discover more posts devoted to 21st century education including such topics as Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also, remember to subscribe to this 21centuryedtech  Blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. I  hope you enjoyed this exploration of digital classroom possibilities in the land of PBL on the web. Have a great week! – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)


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21 responses to “Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration In Project Based Learning

  1. Computers and tablets are only assistants and a good teacher’s will always be needed.
    However social networks such as facebook and YouTube as well as great resources including Wikipedia and Wolfram-Alpha are here to stay so that educators must use them in the teaching process.

    Some time ago YouTube moved a lot of their educational content to a separate domain giving people access a broad set of educational videos.

    However, some complaints include the variety of the content found there as well as the need for schools to register on YouTube under the academic section in order to show their videos, leaving out many academics, professionals and students not formally associated with mainstream schools which contribute with great videos.

    Many academics are posting great educational videos and materials online. The only problem is to sort the good ones from the rest and present them in an organized manner.

    This effort is being done by: http://utubersity.com which presents the best educational videos available on YouTube in an organized, easy to find way to watch and learn. It also links the videos to related content in Wikipedia or associated websites.

    They are classified and tagged in a way that enables people to find these materials more easily and efficiently and not waste time browsing through pages of irrelevant search results.

    The website also enhances the experience using other means such as recommending related videos, Wikipedia content and so on. There’s also a Spanish version called http://utubersidad.com

  2. Hi, Michael! I just linked to you from my blog: teachingstrategiesblog.org. I post 5-10-minute videos there every Monday that showcase a good teacher in his or her classroom. I focus a lot on project-based learning and am glad to have discovered your blog. We’re working hand-in-hand, in a way; you’re posting great links and tools, and I’m giving educators the chance to observe good project-based teaching. Anyway, if you want to check out some of my PBL-related videos, here they are:
    I’d love to have you come guest-blog sometime, if you’re interested. If not, no worries. I hope you enjoy the videos!


    Amy Chamberlain

    • Amy, I am excited to take a look at your best practices videos. You seem to be answering the question teachers always ask, (What does it look like?). Look forward to future networking and glad you are part of my PLN. Please feel free to connect anytime to see how we can work together! Keep up the great effort and thanks for the kind words! – Mike

  3. I just learned about join.me a free, user-friendly screen sharing program and http://www.liveminutes.com a free web-conferencing site very similar to Eluminate Live

  4. Pingback: Tweeting and Information Explosions! « aktrachsel505

  5. Kate

    http://www.epals.com is a great way to collaborate with students from all over the world. There are tons of great projects on there and you can hook up with a class from anywhere in the world and communicate or collaborate.

    • Kate – You are correct… Epals is awesome. In fact it will be shared in PBL Mania Post Number Four along with some other great worldwide resources to build community in PBL. Hope to see you back and thanks for the mention of an awesome resource! – Mike

  6. Shaun

    I would an 11th. one: Studyers (www.studyers.com)
    Where you can create notes and share with each other

  7. Heather Mullins

    Reblogged this on Heather's Weblog and commented:
    Great article for supporting PBL with digital tools

  8. Pingback: Collaborative Document and Project Resources « nancyrubin

  9. Reblogged this on tech-ucation reformation and commented:
    So many wonderful links in this article not to pass it on to others.

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