In most schools today, we are provided with technology that promotes and allows for collaborating online. Here, you will find apps or programs that support collaboration among all different sizes of groups. Try them out, and decide which one works best for you!
Google Hangout is a way to create a group video chat with anyone at anytime (Google Membership is required). Google Hangout is also great for chats, embedding images and documents to share with others participating in the hangout.
Hypothes.is is a free, non-profit open platform for discussion on the web. After signing up and validating your e-mail, you can annotate (highlight, make comments) news, books, articles, terms of service and more. You can have multiple people reading and annotating at once–great for group work. There is a bit of a learning curve when highlighting and making comments.
Lino is a great way to collaborate if you want to organize thoughts or ideas. Color-coding the post-it notes is simple and visually appealing. Some confusion can occur when re-loading pages (lots of sticky notes all over the place)–so assigning someone to keep things organized during the discussion process is a great idea.
Padlet is a free iOS or android application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to collaboratively display information from any topic. You can easily create an account and build a new board where you can post text, images, videos or links. A feature that I appreciate is the ability to have a private or public forum.
Photo Circle is an extremely fast way to share photos or an entire photo album privately and easily. You can even share an unlimited amount of photos–for free!
Plickers is a great, free app for formative assessment. Each student is assigned a personal Plickers “QR code” which they can use to submit answers to questions (that you scan with your iPhone or iPad). I found it incredibly helpful to tape my Plickers cards to the back of my students individual white boards!
Remind (formerly known as Remind 101) is a safe and easy way to send reminders to students or parents via text message. Create an account, and anyone who signs up/can receive text messages will get your notifications (it is important to get parent consent as standard messaging rates do apply). Communication is private–the program is set up so students/parents do not see the teachers number and the teacher does not see the students number.
Skype is a free way to make calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world! It is very easy to download through a free installation software and create an account. I highly recommend promoting global competence in your classroom…try #mytersyskype !
Slack is a communication app that I would almost compare to Twitter. You can create private or public groups and create channels within the group to communicate through. For example, we used this during my study abroad program in Ireland and we had a #social channel, #aroundtown channel, #random channel and then channels for our classes. It is a great way to connect with exactly what/who you are looking for.
TitanPad is a website that allows multiple people to collaborate at once. I think this is a great resource for larger classrooms. You can easily create a public URL code so students can enter the site, enter their name and begin writing. I like that each student is assigned their own color to type in which keeps thoughts and ideas separated. When you are done collaborating in real time, you can save the document as an html, PDF or word document!
TodaysMeet is a way to invite people in a discussion to a live chat on the web. If you are familiar with Twitter, it is essentially a private alternative to that or text messaging. I think this tool would be best used with a group who are good at typing–if not, you risk to much attention being taken away from the discussion. I have no experience using this in my first grade classroom. I worry it might be too distracting but would love to give it a try.
Tweet Deck is a great way to keep your twitter organized. I really enjoy how easy the site is to navigate which makes finding things on the site very simple. You can add friends, colleagues or professionals to groups you want to follow closely–making it hard to miss any information you do not want to miss!
Similar to Tweet Deck, Twubs is a way to organize your twitter–through hashtags! You simply login to your twitter account on the site and enter a hashtag you might want to follow. For example, I like following the hashtag: #edtech — where people from around the world converse about technology use in the classroom. It is an easy and fun way to connect with other professionals. You can save your hashtags searches to access them whenever you would like!