TeachersFirst Edge - Collaboration

 

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BigMarker - BigMarker.com

Grades
9 to 12
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Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions,...more
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Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions, sessions for brainstorming, and any other online activity where people from multiple computer locations can congregate to share ideas. Create a public or private meeting room. Making the room public allows anyone to join. (There are many upcoming sessions that are public and listed on the main page.) Provide a password to other participants when making the room private. Share screens through the presentation board or write on the provided whiteboard. Chat through many methods including text, audio, and video. The creator of the Big Marker conference controls audio and video options and who is heard throughout the chats. Try the demo room first to become acquainted with the tools available and the interface.

In the Classroom

Use Big Marker for online tutoring or peer tutoring sessions and providing additional lessons to students for enrichment. Use Big Marker for brainstorming, planning, and completing projects. Create professional development opportunities for others in your school or elsewhere. Use for extracurricular activities, home schooling, or other online events. Set up a Big Marker get together during snow days so students can stay up to date with projects and assignments.

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Join.me - LogMeIn, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Join.me is a web browser-based tool that allows you to share your PC (or Mac) screen with anyone who has access to the web. To share your screen, simply download ...more
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Join.me is a web browser-based tool that allows you to share your PC (or Mac) screen with anyone who has access to the web. To share your screen, simply download a small application to your Windows or Mac OS X PC. (Windows and Mac users can across platforms; it doesn't have to be Windows to Windows or Mac to Mac.) Send the 9-digit code generated to your collaborator (an email is automatically created). They either click a link in the email, or go to the join.me website and input the code, and they can see your screen. There is a share control feature that can be turned on allowing both users access to either computer. You may need to request download and install by school tech staff if computers are locked down for installing software. Test it out at home first.

tag(s): editing (61), homework (44)

In the Classroom

Screen share with students in computer labs to demonstrate items such as website addresses, how to locate information on websites, or when learning text editing features such as changing font size or color. Use this tool to collaborate with other teachers when creating lesson plans or student documents. Students with laptops can share the screen with the teacher during presentations to make information easier to view. Share this site with students to use at home when collaborating on projects. Help a homebound student by sharing your class computer screen and opening an audio connection on the phone. Offer "extra help" sessions via screen share at predetermined "office hours" or during a snow day. Have students teach tech skills to their peers using this free sharing app.

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PrimaryPad - Primary Technology

Grades
2 to 12
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can...more
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can simultaneously collaborate in real time on a single web document using a free, public account. Each contributor's text is highlighted in a different color. There is a side chat window that allows for dialogue. A free Primary Pad Public account allows you to save up to ten revisions of a document for 30 days. The "timeslider" feature replays the sequence of edits and the development of the text. This makes it easy to assess the contributions of each team member. Share and edit text files by importing them directly into a Primary Pad document. With a Public account, documents are read only files. Send private invites to people you want to have "read and write" privileges. It is possible to access Primary Pad in eighteen different languages. Once a document is complete, export it as a PDF, Word doc., and HTML file directly onto a desktop.

There is a free three-month trial account that allows files to be either public or private. After three months, you will be notified and asked if you'd like to continue your account as a paying customer. Paid accounts offer additional features. Such as the paintbrush tool, and the file switches into "Primary Paint" mode. The paint mode lets users draw, insert shapes, use background colors, capture a website screenshot and search for images on Flicker. Upload PowerPoint, PDFs, JPGs, GIFs or PNGs from your desktop and use them in a "Paint" document. Use the embed code provided to share the results of a Primary Pad document on a class or personal website. Share a document via url so designated individuals can immediately begin "real-time" collaboration. Send invitations out to participants through email or simply write down the URL.

tag(s): chat (51), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. You will want to be sure that all portions you plan to use are available when using your school's network. No login or account sign up is necessary for a "Public" account. You or students can simply click the "Create a Public Pad" button and start typing. Discuss acceptable uses and consequences before introducing the site. The downside of this is that anyone who has the link can access a document, and the work is not password protected. Make sure students understand not to share the link with anyone they do not trust or want contributing. Have students use initials or assign logical pseudonyms (Ex. MsGper2-12, MsGper2-13, etc.) for their user names. Keep your own record of their user names for accountability in case there are any problems. The free public pad option saves a single file for 30 days, so plan accordingly!

All academic subjects can benefit from "real-time" document creation. Student teams can communicate and create presentations after-school, when sick at home, traveling, or even in-class. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. In science class, have students draft their observations and results from an experiment together. Let students assume the persona and dialogue of a designated character from a literature study book and add an additional scene. Have students re-write a fable with another student(s). Develop a peer-tutor writing program with older students at a different school site. Provide immediate feedback to students as they write drafts. Use the "timeslider" to assess contributions each team member is making to group projects. Embed the finished product onto the school website for others to read. Writing teachers will love viewing and debriefing time-lapses of the writing/revision process using the slider.

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Memonic - Nektoon AG

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking to take bits of notes from a variety of web pages? Use Memonic to take notes or clip any web content. Easily take it with you wherever you go ...more
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Looking to take bits of notes from a variety of web pages? Use Memonic to take notes or clip any web content. Easily take it with you wherever you go and share it with others (or the entire world.) Using Memonic allows much more efficient printing. The free plan allows up to 100 notes and 3 groups.
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tag(s): note taking (32)

In the Classroom

Use this site to collect your thoughts and information for class projects, research, and idea/data gathering. Create a group for others to share information with for a subject area, class, or a common interest. Use with classes to allow students to comment to any page you assign for discussion. Students can find pages of interest about a specific content topic and comment their likes and dislikes. Look at various political, environmental, or ethical viewpoints by adding URL's for both sides of the argument and allow time for commenting and voicing of opinion. Learning support teachers may want to create notes together with students, annotating assigned text to show understanding and learn target vocabulary.

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Protagonize - Taunt Media

Grades
5 to 12
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Protagonize was originally a site for collaborative story creation. However, now you and your students can create your own "linear" or solo stories, poems, song lyrics, etc. Stories...more
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Protagonize was originally a site for collaborative story creation. However, now you and your students can create your own "linear" or solo stories, poems, song lyrics, etc. Stories are available for others to comment on or add to. You can easily specify two endings like the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series or leave the story's ending unfinished. Alternatively, choose to create different "chapters" of a story. Before writing, choose from many different story genres. If you prefer not to have outside input on the story, you can select "solo" writing. It is easy to change solo to collaborative writing, however. There is also an option to digitally link the chapters. The site is very flexible, and you can write poetry, drama, song lyrics, and writing exercises including role plays. Before writing, students set up "story guidelines" so that future contributors can see the parameters of the piece. Students can also view the work of others. Mature content is marked with a "Mature" marker. Students and other writers have an obligation to report inappropriate content. PDF format or RSS feeds allow the created work to be saved to another format.
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tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (145), expository writing (44), narrative (24), persuasive writing (55), poetry (228), six traits of writing (8), songs (52), stories and storytelling (33), word choice (26), writers workshop (31), writing (359)

In the Classroom

You may wish to set up a group or class account, so that you can keep a careful eye on what outside additions are made (use an RSS feed!) . Students would then need to sign their writing or their comments on other class members writing, with a code known by you. Or you can invite students through email, and then create a group on the program that would include your students; however this group would also be open to the public.

Create groups of students who would like to work together on a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story connected to a science or social studies topic. Have the students create the story guidelines and parameters. Once the students have started the story, have them use your projector and interactive whiteboard and get feedback from class members about the different directions the story could take. Publish the final adventures by using the page flipping publishing program, Youblisher, reviewed here.

Have your students create "solo" stories, and then have them switch to "collaborative" to receive comments and input from other members in their writing group or class. Publish the final adventures by using the page flipping publishing program, Youblisher, reviewed here.

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SlateBox - SlateBox

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this free site for mind mapping (concept maps) and collaboration. Sign up is easy by using existing Google/OpenID/Facebook logins or creating a new login. Review the simple tutorial...more
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Use this free site for mind mapping (concept maps) and collaboration. Sign up is easy by using existing Google/OpenID/Facebook logins or creating a new login. Review the simple tutorial after sign up for the basics. The FREE account is only for ONE user. So if you plan to have students use the site, you will have to have each student register individually, or each group create an individual account. Note that free accounts make all your "slates" public for others to collaborate/change.

View the video for a quick introduction on copying, moving, and linking boxes. Use the template panel to drop nodes needed for your new slate into the drop panel. Hovering over the box shows tools for editing text, creating links to other boxes (click and hold on the icon while dragging to another box.) Control the colors, borders, template, etc. in the right navigation pane. Export your slate to a pdf document or create an embed code to place into a wiki or blog.

tag(s): concept mapping (22), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

Create a template mindmap and add collaborator leaders (perhaps one in each group) who can --in turn-- add the rest of the group to collaborate. Assign portions of a template to a group of students. Groups can collaborate on paper or your whiteboard and then choose the best ideas for the slate being created. You can also use Slatebox with a whole-class account. Show SlateBox creations using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit or change elements easily with class input. Use for mapping content being studied in the current unit, problem solving, vocabulary, and more. Use this site to help students interact with and organize ideas. Construct points of a short story, identify main points of passages, or generate a map of the basic points of paragraph development. Wrap up a lesson by having the students create a "diagram of the day" (the main points of the lesson). Students can use this site to map ideas in passages of a textbook. If each student or group maps a specific passage, ideas from chapters can be seen visually. Be sure to include the links to student-created "diagrams" on a class wiki or web page so students can use them for review. If your students have Internet access outside of class, assign them to create a simple diagram of an assigned reading as homework and embed it into a wiki or blog.

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Wiggio - Dana Lampert and Lance Polivy

Grades
K to 12
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Wiggio makes communicating in groups extremely easy (and free.) Use Wiggio for messaging, creating a calendar, polling, sharing and editing, and conferencing. Use a shared folder for...more
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Wiggio makes communicating in groups extremely easy (and free.) Use Wiggio for messaging, creating a calendar, polling, sharing and editing, and conferencing. Use a shared folder for files and links. Wiggio boasts of the ease of use of its application which allows novice and more skilled users an easy to understand and use interface. How can it be so easy? It is actually very simplified collaboration.

tag(s): calendars (44), forum (9), microblogging (44), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Create a password for others to join groups you create. Students enter the group name and password to join. All groups appear on your dashboard page. Click on your group to use the tools. Messages to the group can also be posted by email or text message. Click on the green arrow below the post field to choose who the message can be sent to. Click on various tools along the top to open. Tools such as calendar, folder, meeting, poll, message, and to-do lists are very easy to follow. Videos on using Wiggio can also be found on the site. Change all information within your group in the Group Settings. Group information can also be viewed directly on the Wiggio site.

Use this simple tool for academic and extra-curricular groups who need to plan meetings, create schedules, or collaborate through messaging. Try this site with teachers and parents for solving transportation issues or with younger students by using the polling or messaging tool. Use this resource with high school students working on group projects for better group communication, managing work flow, and more. Take the time to model how to plan and manage group process using such a tool. What a study and life skill!

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VoiceThread - VoiceThread

Grades
K to 12
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own...more
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. Other listeners can "comment" back, as well. Access to the ed.voicethread site (as opposed to www.voicethread) is restricted to grades K-12 students, educators, and administrators. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and has some ideas for classroom use, as well. Ideas from the TeachersFirst Edge review team are listed below, under "In the classroom."

Voicethread also offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. Your ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): digital storytelling (145), speech (92)

In the Classroom

You will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool, you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking "share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.

Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.

Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web! Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.

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Collaborize Classroom - Democrasoft

Grades
3 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about...more
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Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about Collaborize Classroom including 8 Online Icebreakers. Tutorials for learning how to enter students into groups, creating new groups, and choosing discussion types exist. Consensus discussions such as yes/no, multiple choice, and vote/suggest can be chosen. Open discussions can occur using the forum discussion type. Add video, images, documents, and more to your discussions. Students, however, cannot upload material to the discussions. Because it is a closed group, outside comments are not a concern (group members must be added, invited, or approved). The process from setup to a functioning site is very simple. Tutorials and technical support is available and make this tool very easy to use. Use participation and activity tools in Collaborize Classroom to track student participation. Use the available PDF's for assistance in using Collaborize Classroom and ideas to use in class to stimulate discussions and engage learning. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (199), forum (9), polls and surveys (48)

In the Classroom

Use this tool for discussions, project collaboration, voting on issues, and sharing resources in and out of the classroom. Increase student participation and encourage in-class discussions and outside homework, extension of the classroom, and activity. Use for blended learning activities that include discussion questions to extend the discussions from in class to outside the classroom. Provide multiple choice questions that they can answer, agree or disagree with statements, post comments, or vote on other responses. Use the discussions to debate issues in the school community or within the country. Critique and comment on current events as they are happening. Use to discuss environmental problems. Use groupings to create literature circles. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

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MixedInk - MixedInk, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
At MixedInk your students will be able to collaborate while writing. Unfortunately, students must have an email to register in the free version. Savvy teachers can use these...more
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At MixedInk your students will be able to collaborate while writing. Unfortunately, students must have an email to register in the free version. Savvy teachers can use these tips tips to accomplish this. Mixed Ink is a general site for all kinds of writers, but this review directs you to the educator area. You can use MixedInk for any writing assignments, debates, speeches, student council proposals, editorials, and whatever else you can think of. All of MixedInk authorships are tracked automatically and color-coded. Students can comment on submissions and rate different versions to identify the best. There are at least two demo videos, and these can be embedded on your website for student reference. This program uses Java.

tag(s): persuasive writing (55), process writing (42), six traits of writing (8), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Remember the fun activity where students are given a sentence starter and told to write the introduction to the story, students then pass their part of the story to someone else, and the next person writes the next part of the story? Well, MixedInk is this fun activity on steroids! It is so powerful! You can assign your students to write about anything and they can collaborate together, on something as serious as an inquiry project.

If you are using the Six Traits writing program, reviewed here and here this is the perfect place for your students to put their writing and get feedback. Students can suggest different wording and ideas, and all are color coded so you will know what has been contributed and what is original.

If you work with a few gifted students in ANY subject and want them to push their ideas beyond the basics, set up a separate class in Mixed Ink (even if the students are not actually IN the same class). Include gifted students from different classes you and other teachers have -- or even students from other schools if you know their teachers. Challenge them to collaborate on higher level thinking questions, writing challenges that require more research to support their arguments, or real world problems such as convincing a legislator to support a new bill. Have them use Mixed Ink to collaborate on their draft and argue among themselves about the best support for their thesis. For a more creative option, have them write a continuing "story" with each student contributing the next episode-- perhaps using terms and concepts your classes are studying. Imagine them composing "A Month in the Life of a Flea" during your study of insects. Of course, they will need to have email addresses to register, and you will want parent permission for online interactions with students outside you own classroom.

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Edmodo - Edmodo

Grades
7 to 12
11 Favorites 1  Comments
    
Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library...more
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Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library to store your assignments, quizzes, and units. Post assignment reminders, quizzes (automatically graded), build an event calendar, and post messages to groups as well. Create multiple classes and have students join via the class code. Then, you can create small groups from your class rosters on Edmodo. Designed specifically for education, teachers can create a network for their classes where members can quickly respond to each other. Use the Snapshot feature to align quizzes with Common Core Standards. Gamify your class, if you'd like, using their badges or importing your own. Use the parent sign up to keep them in the loop. Find other educators and groups to connect with and follow your interests. Use Edmodo from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. YouTube hosts all support and training videos for how to implement Edmodo. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
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tag(s): assessment (100), blogs (88), classroom management (135), DAT device agnostic tool (199), game based learning (103), gamification (65), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

View a screencast demo of using Edmodo here. Before using with a class, create a master administrator and also create two to three "fake students" to practice using Edmodo for a few weeks. Use this suggestion not only to understand how to use Edmodo but to also determine how it will be used in the classroom. Allow students to register by using your group code. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Use this service for class scribes to detail what has been learned that day. In Math, instruct scribes to discuss how to solve a problem. Better yet, allow students the opportunity to discuss how they solve specific problems to identify more than one manner of solving. During class presentations, use Edmodo to provide feedback to the presenter. During videos, students can maintain backchannel discussions in order to recap events, ask for clarification, or carry on meaningful discussion of the content. Use to create stories one line at a time with collaboration from the whole class. Ask questions from the days work to identify which concepts are causing problems with students and need to be reinforced. Post assignments in Edmodo. Students can access assignments and ask questions for clarification. Discuss environmental, health, or other social issues to identify other viewpoints and concerns. Still need more ideas? Check the Edmodo blog.

Comments

Edmodo is a terrific resource for communicating with teachers and students. It's Facebook-like interface is familiar and inviting for users. Tim, , Grades: 0 - 6

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ThumbScribes

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Want to create a class or group poem, story, or novella-- even a song? At ThumbScribes (in beta) you can do that easily. There are many genres from which to ...more
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Want to create a class or group poem, story, or novella-- even a song? At ThumbScribes (in beta) you can do that easily. There are many genres from which to choose, and you can be public or private. When using ThumbScribes privately, you will invite your students via email to join in the writing. Scribes are collaborative works, created and passed between ThumbScribes' authors, where each adds a new section to the story, poem, novella, etc.

tag(s): poetry (228), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to collaboratively write a story, poem, or novella using Thumbscribes. Use ThumbScribes in conjunction with Story Writing Tips for Kids (reviewed here), to have students write create a story together. Write a story or poem about a topic being taught in science, a current event, math concept, biography of a hero, or nearly any other subject area. Create a class book at the beginning of the school year to collaboratively share what your students did during the summer months.

Through the "Sneak Peak" you can read any public poem, story, etc. In order to write or "co+create" you will need a screen name and e-mail. Once you've signed up, you can start by creating a new scribe. All you need to do is click on the "Start Writing" button at the top of the page.

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Drop Event - dropevent.com

Grades
K to 12
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This fabulous site allows you to post and share photos related to a certain event with others. Create an "event" and share the link for others to upload photos. Only ...more
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This fabulous site allows you to post and share photos related to a certain event with others. Create an "event" and share the link for others to upload photos. Only the creator of the event must register on the site. All others upload without registering. Email photos to the event site as well. Set permissions for instant sharing or moderate pictures before they show on the Drop Event site. Choose to make your event public or private. Note: If public, it will show up in Drop Event searches and be visible to others. When you create your event, answer questions to create your free account. Note: Most recent events appear on the main page of this site. Be sure to check for appropriate content before showing to students. Consider directing students to the URL of the actual event page.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

This site is great for students to upload photos from field trips or other events. Keep track of project accomplishments by uploading pictures of the process. Have a class project such as DNA models or types of plants? Get them out of the classroom by taking pictures and uploading them to Drop Event. Make a collection for local history or photos of lab results during a bridge-building or pumpkin seed counting activity. Collect images that students can then use in Thinglink, reviewed here, "lab reports" about their discoveries. Place the link to the event page you have created and invite parents to view the creations. Take snapshots to create a Day In The Life event for your classroom. What better way to share memories! Have parent volunteers? Have them upload their pictures too! Whatever project or event you have, sharing and collaborating with Drop Event is easy and fun!

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TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in...more
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Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in other schools. This collection of reviewed resources related to Twitter will help you get started using Twitter safely for your own learning and possibly expand into using Twitter for class connections with other classrooms. The information includes basic terms such as "hastags," and even features a "widget" to show current "tweets" by educator-specific hashtag groups. Watch the sidebar (if it is not blocked in your school) to get a sense of the sharing possible on Twitter.

tag(s): social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Make this page a must-learn for teaching in the 21st century. Mark it in your favorites to return often to watch the embedded tweets from educators all over the world. Then muster your courage to set up a Twitter account of your own. Follow @teachersfirst or our lead Thinking Teacher @cshively, and we'll be sure to welcome you!

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Skype in the Classroom - Skype Limited

Grades
K to 12
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Use Skype as a great tool to connect to others around the nation or the world. Solve the problem of finding classrooms...more
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Use Skype as a great tool to connect to others around the nation or the world. Solve the problem of finding classrooms and various projects with this great site. Use this free site to look through projects, tips from other teachers, and find other teachers to collaborate and connect with your students. Create a profile including your interests and the age, subject, languages, and more information about students. Use the "Project" link to list or find projects, classes, teachers, or speakers. Search the project link by speaker, project, age range of students, language, subject, and tags.

tag(s): colonial america (107), constitution (79), philadelphia (13), skype (12)

In the Classroom

To browse the activities, no special skills are required. If you plan to create your own activity, a Skype account is necessary. Use your Skype login to use this site. Be sure to check with school authorities before scheduling or using Skype with students. Be sure the Acceptable Use Policy covers the use of such tools. Spend time discussing appropriate and inappropriate behavior with students prior to using Skype or participating in many of the projects found on this site.

Browse through the projects link to find ideas, tips from other teachers, and to find teachers to collaborate and connect with your students. You can search the project ideas by project, age range, language, subject, tags, and more. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom at this valuable website.

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Teach Collaborative Revision with Google Docs - Google

Grades
8 to 12
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Teach Collaborative Revision with Google Docs helps you teach some of the final important steps of the writing process in a meaningful and practical way. The secure, sharing features...more
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Teach Collaborative Revision with Google Docs helps you teach some of the final important steps of the writing process in a meaningful and practical way. The secure, sharing features of Google Docs enable your students to engage in group work and peer editing in a safe online environment. This will add a critical piece to your classroom writing curriculum and everything you need to know to get started, along with easy-to-follow directions, are available right from this web site. There are several reproducible PDF articles filled with student-friendly tips and techniques for revision, as well as a teacher's guide that provides innovative ideas for lesson plans and how to use these materials with Google Docs. To begin, treat yourself to Teachersfirst "tour" of Google Docs by clicking on this link link. You will be amazed at how easy it is to get started!

tag(s): editing (61), proofreading (19), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Create an innovative, exciting revision experience for students to edit each other's writing and engage in the peer review process by using the collaboration feature of Google Docs. This tool facilitates teacher comments on student essays by not having to wait until students turn in their papers. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way to drive successful proofreading and editing skills. After students are entered as collaborators, they will each have a different color to distinguish what they contributed to the document, and you can easily see who made what revisions. Suggested lesson plans for peer editing, complete with downloadable, reproducible handouts and online tutorials are provided. The ease of access to Google Docs makes these lessons a breeze to carry out from any internet connection, so you may start it in the classroom and continue as a homework assignment.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Middlespot - Middlespot

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search...more
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search directly from within Middlespot and view results through hovering and mouse clicks without leaving the site. Annotate information collected and share with others. Find the tools easily in a bar along the top. Click Add to enter elements, including stickies. Drag and drop the materials into a more pleasing arrangement. Create a workspace -- they call it a "mashup"-- without registering but use a login to save them. Mashups are private but can be changed to share with others.

tag(s): bookmarks (60)

In the Classroom

Only a little play is needed to learn how to use this tool. Create a class account for students to use in order to collaborate with others.

Create teacher-made mashups to collect materials for a web-based assignment. Use this site for student groups to collect materials in mashups for their group projects. Assign students a topic and allow them to interact online. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or, use the site to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles. Add stickies to highlight areas or for others to comment. Have students comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside of class assignment. Post assignments, post readings, science teachers - post online interactive labs, and more. Create whole-class mashups on a unit topic in lower grades, such as "things we learned about frogs" or "things that use energy."

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Wedoist - Wedoist

Grades
4 to 12
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Wedoist is an easy, free project manager. Do you have groups working on projects? Do they need to plan out their work and who will do what? Your students need ...more
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Wedoist is an easy, free project manager. Do you have groups working on projects? Do they need to plan out their work and who will do what? Your students need to know about time management skills. Wedoist will help you teach them. At Wedoist you'll find a simple, free task manager. It has a built in calendar and you can create sub-projects and sub-tasks easily. The free account is for groups of three or less. Be aware: this site is still operating, however support staff is no longer available.

tag(s): classroom management (135), organizational skills (122), time (144)

In the Classroom

When older students sign up for an account, be sure to tell them to use their code or acronym instead of their real name. For younger students you can create an account and as many groups as you need. Invite students to the group they will be working with. Older students can sign up for the program and create their own project and invite their group members. Have the students agree on tasks and who will complete them and post it on Wedoist. Use this site to help students organize for individual or collaborative research projects. Take the "time" to actually teach about time management skills, one of the most sought-after skills listed by today's employers.

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Exploratree - Futurelab

Grades
4 to 12
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Exploratree is a free online library of thinking guides where you can choose a graphic organizer/mind map and fill it in. Or, you can create your own thinking guide. There ...more
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Exploratree is a free online library of thinking guides where you can choose a graphic organizer/mind map and fill it in. Or, you can create your own thinking guide. There are many highly interactive features: printing, emailing, and collaborating with others in real time. The home page has several videos that show you how to use the features of the site, and it has many ideas for how to use Exploratree in your classroom.

tag(s): brain (72), brainstorming (23), graphic organizers (43)

In the Classroom

Play with the tools and toolbars to create a mind map; use toolbars to collaborate, publish, or print diagrams. Creating the organizers is of easy to medium difficulty depending upon how elaborate your organizer is. You and your students must be registered and logged in to share, or comment on each other's thinking guide. Note: to use the collaboration feature, collaborators need individual email accounts to gain access. You can also export the mind maps in pdf format, text, or as an image (gif).

Make sure your students use a code name or number when registering. Be sure to save their names/numbers, for when they "forget."

Have students create graphic organizers in cooperative groups as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. In science classes, have groups generate visual illustrations of processes such as photosynthesis. In literature, generate story maps or diagram the relationships between characters. In social studies, illustrate different factors that lead to a war or economic meltdown. Share and compare the organizers on an interactive whiteboard or projector in class and allow classmates to suggest changes. Use student-made organizers as an informal formative assessment part way through any unit.

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Lino - Infoteria Corporation

Grades
K to 12
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to ...more
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to use Lino. Join and create your own canvases to share stickies, reminders, files, and more. Change sticky colors from the menu in the upper right hand corner or use the easy editing tools that appear when the sticky is selected. Use the icons at the bottom of each sticky note to "peel them off," share, edit, and more. Create a group from your Lino page to share and collaborate on canvases. You can also share canvases publicly so anyone with the URL can participate. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): collages (17), creative fluency (8), creativity (109), DAT device agnostic tool (199), gamification (65), note taking (32)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.

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