TeachersFirst Edge - Collaboration

 

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Watch2gether - Sailer Interactive

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use this free site to create a private chat room where you can watch videos with others at multiple locations in real time. Create a chat room and use the ...more
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Use this free site to create a private chat room where you can watch videos with others at multiple locations in real time. Create a chat room and use the link to send to others. Use the Facebook app to post to Facebook. Watch the video synchronously while making comments in the chat window. Note: members of the chat can change the video at any time, and it will change for all those in the private room. There is no way to lock this function. Want to save the chat? Copy and paste to share later or use screen shots (command/shift/4 on a Mac or print screen on PC.) Save your room and go back later to view the chat and watch more videos with your friends. Note that the videos are from YouTube so may not be accessible in schools. There is no way for adults to monitor the chat other than being part of it.

tag(s): chat (45), video (266)

In the Classroom

Use for teaching a concept with others by viewing portions of videos and chatting content and main points with each other. Use for reviewing materials for exams or to prepare for project creation. Be sure to set rules on changing videos when in sessions with others. All of the following suggestions will extend your blended learning classroom: set up a snow day or evening video viewing time and URL to watch and discuss videos together with the teacher for extra help or enrichment; an online back to school night, share a video at a specified time and invite parents to join you and chat their questions. What a bonus for parents who travel and can't be there! Offer video/chat how-to sessions for major projects, such as science fair or other major independent work. Enhance video instructions for any major assignment by scheduling a watch together session. Use together with Khan Academy videos for math class. Make your "flipped" or blended learning classroom more social using Watch2gether.

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Spider Scribe - spiderscribe.net

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
   
SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. Organize ideas by connecting notes, files, maps, calendar events, and more. Use this tool to collaborate and share maps...more
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SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. Organize ideas by connecting notes, files, maps, calendar events, and more. Use this tool to collaborate and share maps online with others. SpiderScribe has an easy to use interface. Drag the various stencils (elements) to the screen to begin. Watch the demo video to understand the basics of this free tool. You will be started in less than a minute!

tag(s): brainstorming (21), graphic organizers (40), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

Have your class create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Easily add images to maps for young students, ELL learners, or non-readers to understand relationships and learn vocabulary. Or you can assign students to "map" out a chapter or story or assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees or food pyramids in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question; map out a story, plot line, or plan for the future; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle).

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Trello - Fog Creek Software

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, ...more
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Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, so refreshing the site isn't necessary. The two main items used on boards are cards and lists. Cards are tasks; create a card for each task and drag it to the list. Attachments such as videos, due dates, user notes, and more can be attached to cards. Then pull each card into a list and place in any order necessary to complete the tasks. You can be identified with an @symbol and receive instant notifications.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (169), graphic organizers (40), organizational skills (107)

In the Classroom

Use this site in the classroom for organizing any long term project such as a research report or collaborative projects. Create a board for each group with a timeline and assign parts for each project. Gradually release the responsibility from one project to the next, asking students to create their own task lists so they learn time management. Teachers of learning support and gifted will love this tool as a way to teach organizational skills. Share it with parents to support their organizationally challenged students. Yearbook or school newspaper advisors may want to consider this site for organizing and assigning tasks. Share this site with your school's PTA as a resource for organizing and planning school events.

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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet-connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet-connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. Students can earn badges. On ClassDojo students can now have their own portfolio to share photos and videos of their successes. The wording on the ClassDojo site indicates that ClassDojo "will always stay free for teachers."

Please be aware that ClassDojo falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use ClassDojo with their child.

tag(s): behavior (43), classroom management (144), DAT device agnostic tool (169), game based learning (152), gamification (82), Special Needs (42)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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BoomWriter - BoomWriter Corp

Grades
2 to 8
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. Once students submit their writing, share it with the class or a small group to create a book. Here's how ...more
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Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. Once students submit their writing, share it with the class or a small group to create a book. Here's how it works: Provided with a "starter chapter," students continue the story by writing additional chapters. Students vote on chapters submitted (anonymously), and the chapters receiving the most votes are included into a book that students, teachers, and parents can choose to have published by BoomWriter. After registration, students can see and begin contributions to a project with teachers able to oversee each student's writing, comments, and edits of other students' work. When all contributions are complete, the class reads the submissions and votes. Writers' names aren't revealed until after the voting, thereby eliminating any "classroom politics" that could happen in the voting stage. There is a short video on the home page introducing BoomWriter and how to get started with the program.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (162), digital storytelling (147), interactive stories (31), short stories (24)

In the Classroom

Use this site to excite students as writers. Encourage students to read other students' writing for ideas about what makes a story interesting. Create a friendly competition within your grade level by starting a book and choosing a winner. Create new books as different writing concepts are introduced such as dialogue, foreshadowing, etc. to help making learning fun. Enhance learning by having students create online posters using Design Bold, reviewed here, or redefine learning by having students create interactive, multimedia posters using Lucidpress, reviewed here. Science and other curricula teachers could have students review a unit just studied by creating their own texts or story books on the curriculum topic.

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Write It - Scholastic

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
At this publishing site for secondary students, you have many opportunities to learn the craft, view other writers in action, have work critiqued, and interact with other student writers....more
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At this publishing site for secondary students, you have many opportunities to learn the craft, view other writers in action, have work critiqued, and interact with other student writers. You can take a master class with featured writers that include conversations with authors discussing their challenges and triumphs. There is a chat forum to post work and get input from fellow students with suggestions for revision (participation in chat requires registration to the site; however, the chat logs can be viewed without registration). An online portfolio can be created after registration on the site. The "Authors in Action" section is a wonderful resource to view short videos of student authors performing their own work and is sorted by genres.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (162), descriptive writing (42), poetry (221), process writing (43), writers workshop (36)

In the Classroom

Share videos from the site with students when discussing the writing process. The master classes are perfect for use on interactive whiteboards or a projector as a way of starting classroom discussions on the writing process and different techniques and methods used by authors. Have students read their own finished works of writing and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. If you do Writers Workshop in your classroom, use videos and information from the site to demonstrate writing and critiquing methods.

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Flock Draw - free online drawing tool - FlockDraw

Grades
2 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Flockdraw, an online based painting and drawing tool, makes it easy to draw with multiple people. Unlimited people can be in a room, and the drawing updates in real time. ...more
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Flockdraw, an online based painting and drawing tool, makes it easy to draw with multiple people. Unlimited people can be in a room, and the drawing updates in real time. Different colors, shapes and text are available. Navigate the right panel to choose color, brush size, line tool, fill tool, text, brush tool, and eraser. Arrows change tools, colors etc. Finished products can be embedded onto your website or blog or saved as a png file on your computer. CAUTION: This tool can be used by 10 users at the same time. Be warned that inappropriate words or drawing could appear while using this site. You may want to avoid the "open rooms." Click Create Your Session" to start your own session (non-public).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): collaboration (55), colors (77), drawing (74), painting (62)

In the Classroom

Allow students to create collaborative drawings through this site as responses to literature. Share the finished products on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or your class website. Have a group of students create a drawing, then another group can use that as a story prompt. Use this site with students in a computer lab (or on laptops) setting to create a drawing of the setting in a story as it is being read aloud.

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IDroo Online Educational Whiteboard - idroo.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Teach, learn and collaborate easily with this multi-user whiteboard. Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time. IDroo supports...more
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Teach, learn and collaborate easily with this multi-user whiteboard. Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time. IDroo supports an unlimited number of meeting participants, the only limitations are computer power and internet connection speed. There is a professional math typing tool built-in making it easy to teach or work through math problems collaboratively. IDroo is integrated with Skype to enhance the online collaboration experience. Currently it only works on Windows systems and requires a software download.

tag(s): iwb (30), virtual field trips (57)

In the Classroom

IDroo would be great for any online collaboration session with other classrooms, teachers, or virtual classroom visitors. Use this to tutor students virtually by setting up a time for online work sessions.

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SearchTeam - Zakta LLC

Grades
5 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This search engine is designed for you to search collaboratively with others. Avoid duplicate search results and record comments and "likes." Once you register (requires email), click...more
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This search engine is designed for you to search collaboratively with others. Avoid duplicate search results and record comments and "likes." Once you register (requires email), click Contacts (or Invite Friends To Search Together) to add others with whom you can collaborate on searches. All collaborators must have email and be registered. Be aware: as with most search engines, inappropriate words can be used/searched. Be sure your students know the rules, expectations, and consequences for inappropriate searches.

tag(s): search engines (59), search strategies (25)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for any project or other classroom research where students can benefit from collaborative research. This is a great alternative to meeting at a group member's house or the library. And it saves gas! For students under age 13, use a whole class account and have each group use a different TAB that you set up for them. A how-to video on the site will guide you through set up.

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Wridea - Octeth Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate...more
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Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate using this tool, you must have individual memberships (email required). Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify the members who may collaborate and make alterations. At this time, this site does not work properly in Internet Explorer. However, it is a great tool to use in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or other browsers.

tag(s): brainstorming (21), concept mapping (17), graphic organizers (40), mind map (25), organizational skills (107)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to create their own Wridea tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group study guides or review charts before a test. Have students use Wridea as a study guide by brainstorming all the important concepts they remember about the unit being studied in history or science, and then have them share their Wridea with another student who will add concepts that were left out. Build student creative fluency by having them use Wridea to create categories of wonder, question, and answers for research; map out a story or plot line, or map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings based on pivotal points.

Comments

This resources looks like it has a wide variety of applications suitable to upper elementary and secondary classrooms. Sign up was quick and easy, but I received a message upon completing those steps that Wridea doesn't support Internet Explorer. It "suggested" using Mozilla Firefox instead. I'm a strong advocate for being comfortable with using several browsers, so, this doesn't throw up any huge roadblocks to me, but if you do not have or use Firefox, you will need to take that extra step as well before actually making use of this tool.

Editor's Note: the review has been updated to reflect this new information.
Rita, WA, Grades: 6 - 12

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Tricider - tricider.com

Grades
3 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. ...more
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Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. Invite people to join in making decisions via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Options include setting a time limit, or closing down the question or discussion. There is no registration required, and the site is completely free.

tag(s): brainstorming (21), conflict resolution (10), debate (46), persuasive writing (55), polls and surveys (49), questioning (38)

In the Classroom

Introduce Tricider on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site to develop arguments sides for an upcoming debate or persuasive writing assignment. Promote higher level thinking by asking students to brainstorm options and set criteria to choose. Build mental flexibility as they see alternate points of view on an issue. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects, decision making, and organization.

If you have students create book ads in your class, or projects, your students can vote on which book they want to read next or which project they would like to investigate further, etc. Teachers can also use Tricider to survey students about what resources on your website are the best, what further explanation they may need about a unit in math or science, which project students would like to do as a summative assessment, or ways to encourage "green" practices in your community. Be sure to have your students use a code or number instead of an actual name.

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Ge.tt - Mathis and Tobias, Ge.tt Founders

Grades
6 to 12
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Ge.tt is an easy to use tool for file sharing via the web. One user can still be uploading while his friends are downloading from his files. This eliminates the ...more
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Ge.tt is an easy to use tool for file sharing via the web. One user can still be uploading while his friends are downloading from his files. This eliminates the need for flash drives if you have access to the Internet. You can work from remote locations to create collaborative projects for home, work, or school. This is a free service with free sign up and 2GB of free storage space.

In the Classroom

When assigning group projects to be worked on outside of class, have students share work via Ge.tt. This eliminates the need to actually be in the same place at the same time, which can be difficult for students to arrange due to their schedules and their parents' schedules. Use this to have students share files with you. Students can send you any file up to 2GB with a few simple clicks. Use this as an extra file back-up when transporting files for a grad presentation or other important event.

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Solvr - FreshBrain

Grades
3 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Solvr is an online, collaborative problem solving tool that might even make solving problems fun! The site is simple to use - enter a problem, then enter ideas that might ...more
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Solvr is an online, collaborative problem solving tool that might even make solving problems fun! The site is simple to use - enter a problem, then enter ideas that might help to solve the problem. Your entry instantly creates a unique url that can be shared with others. Anyone with the url can add ideas, comments, or additional problems to the original problem or proposed solutions, and their response is anonymous. Their thoughts then lead to other possible ideas, with the collaborative process leading to a solution. Each contribution can earn "votes." The entire thought process can also be printed out. Here is a simple example begun by our review team. No log in or registration is needed!

tag(s): critical thinking (121), problem solving (292), social networking (94)

In the Classroom

Use this site to solve classroom problems or curriculum related issues anonymously. For example, try the problem of increased erosion due to recent development. Or use to develop classroom citizenship skills with examples such as how to distribute roles for a classroom play or how much homework should be assigned. Post the question, provide the link to students on classroom computers, and let them input ideas. Share the site with parent organizations to use as a problem solving tool.

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Let's Crate - Sahil Lavingia and Dan Loewenherz

Grades
K to 12
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Package your files (or groups of files) for sharing in "crates" simply by dragging and dropping them in place. After dropping them into the crate, the files are uploaded. Use ...more
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Package your files (or groups of files) for sharing in "crates" simply by dragging and dropping them in place. After dropping them into the crate, the files are uploaded. Use the links then provided to share your files with others. The free account has a limited number of 6 crates and 1,000 files that may be uploaded. Easily share documents with others in the class. Though not a complete back-up of all your documents, Let's Crate can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Any Word files, slides, or videos can be shared via Let's Crate.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (272), slides (53), video (266)

In the Classroom

Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. Use this resource to upload files for access at school later. (Be sure to make sure that this site is not blocked by the district first.) The possibilities here are endless - any subject area, any level, any topic!

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DOGOnews - Meera Dolasia

Grades
2 to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety ...more
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety of articles, add a book list, a calendar, favorite sites list, add lesson plan instructions, monitor student comments, and more. DOGOnews is kid-friendly, colorful, and flexible. After all, DOGO means young or small in Swahili. You can select articles from a number of categories (Social Studies, Science, World, Current Events, etc.). There is an integrated dictionary for challenging words and maps for geographical context. Some of the articles include short video clips. Students may leave brief comments about each article (no login required). Also, typing the word "video" in the search box will bring up the Video of the Week for the past several weeks. The videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. In addition, find a Book and Movie section with a brief summary for the book or movie, and comments. You don't have to join to read the articles, but you do need to join to create a class page. There are many benefits to creating a class page, and it's all free! Don't want to create a class page? You can also embed articles on your current web page.

tag(s): journalism (69), news (259), reading comprehension (131), sports (102)

In the Classroom

Non-fiction reading and background knowledge have found a new emphasis with The Common Core State Standards. It is more important now than ever to help connect students with quality, non-fiction reading and viewing material. Find great news resources and videos of the week to create assignments for your class at DOGOnews. You may want to create a class page and load several news articles. Have students choose from the articles, and email it to themselves. Have students print out the article and complete a "close reading" of the article by annotating it. Then have students who chose the same article get together in groups to discuss their reactions about the article, create a summary together, and create four or five open-ended questions about the article. Lastly, create groups of four, with each student having a different article, and have them present their article to the others in the group and ask them their open-ended questions to trigger a discussion. Create a class magazine from the articles. Or better yet, have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows you to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Strengthen reading comprehension by having an 'article du jour' on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students arrive. Link this site on your homepage.

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Just Paste It - JustPaste.it

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
JustPaste.it is a quick, online way to share text and images with others. It features an easy-to-use text editor with text formatting function. Just paste text from another web page...more
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JustPaste.it is a quick, online way to share text and images with others. It features an easy-to-use text editor with text formatting function. Just paste text from another web page or word processor and text formatting and images will be preserved. By using the "Upload images" module you can easily add new graphics to your notes. If you have written your note originally using a word processor: Microsoft Word, MS Works or Open Office, simply upload it to the server using "Import from file" function. Text formatting and graphics will be preserved. When finished creating your text, click Publish to receive the HTML code, forum code, and URL link. Or create your own custom URL through the Custom page name option at the top right. Notes can also be edited through the link provided after publication. The finished product can also be easily saved as a PDF file, just scroll to the bottom of the page and click the save to PDF link. This tool is simpler than setting up a Google Docs account, since it does not require email registration.
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tag(s): images (272), note taking (42)

In the Classroom

Copy and paste important information found on websites while viewing as a class into Just Paste It, then save as a PDF for students to have a hard copy or share a link to the information through your classroom website or blog. Challenge students to create their own "Paste It" to use to take research notes, write study notes for vocabulary, or many other uses. Have students create individual pages as part of classroom projects then share them using a tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to create an online bulletin board to use to display information learned. Why would a teacher share text or images this way? Teachers can offer an assignment, a writing prompt, a vocab list, a story starter, handout, or even a permission slip for parents to download, print, and sign.

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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 (45), writing (364)

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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Protagonize - Taunt Media

Grades
5 to 12
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As of June 2017 Protagonize is no longer updated, however there is a note that all contents remain for those who would like to explore. Protagonize was originally a ...more
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As of June 2017 Protagonize is no longer updated, however there is a note that all contents remain for those who would like to explore. 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 (162), digital storytelling (147), expository writing (38), narrative (19), persuasive writing (55), poetry (221), six traits of writing (7), songs (50), stories and storytelling (34), word choice (27), writers workshop (36), writing (364)

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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PortfolioVillage - Site Maker Software Company

Grades
4 to 12
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PortfolioVillage is a powerful eportfolio site where you or your students can showcase all types of work. PortfolioVillage is a free and easy to use program. Their unique drag and ...more
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PortfolioVillage is a powerful eportfolio site where you or your students can showcase all types of work. PortfolioVillage is a free and easy to use program. Their unique drag and drop editor makes it easy. There are also editable flash widgets and the thousands of stock images and animations. You can create a flash portfolio website with media rich components: videos, audio, a play list, create forms, chats, and blogs. Be sure to watch the introduction video and read about the features provided.

PortfolioVillage must be updated every six months to stay free. Your portfolio will be deleted if not updated.

For those of you with iPads, this Flash site won't work for you. However, you might try Google Swiffy reviewed here. Google Swiffy is a tool that lets you convert Flash SWF files to HTML5 to view on non-Flash devices such as iTouch, iPad, and iPhone.

tag(s): creativity (115), portfolios (22)

In the Classroom

There are a gazillion ways to use an eportfolio! Have your students upload their current and past work that they think they might want to showcase. They can have an area for all their different talents whether it is drawing, writing, acting, creating games or codes, designing anything, or athletic prowess. Students could create an online presence to share in college or job applications.

You may want to start out slowly, allowing your students to choose a talent that may fit within traditional curriculum. Have students select several pieces to demonstrate their talent and upload it to a working portfolio. You can then have the students reflect on each piece in writing. Students should then choose one artifact to showcase; have them write about why that was their choice. The eportfolio can be presented in class by students using a projector or an interactive whiteboard. Teachers who have students for more than one year (such as in a gifted program or Art classes) can encourage students to show growth in their talents.

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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 (17), 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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