Recently I was told that a school would not allow access to Google Docs and they would not be moving forward with Google Apps for EDU. Why? I have no idea. The teacher was frustrated because she saw all of the educational benefits that Google Docs provided as well as the 21st century skills that our students need.
I started looking around and I found a couple of tools that although they do not do everything that Google Docs does, you can still bring in cool tools to help facilitate 21st century learning.
Collaborative Document’s- There are many activities that you can do with your class with collaborating on the same document. For ideas check out this pdf or “32 ways to use Google Docs in the classroom” or here. Like I said some places do not allow Google Docs, a tool that I found cool is iEtherpad. “EtherPad is the only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time”- From ietherpad.com. IEtherPad will allow you to have your students join your “Pad” and collaborate in real-time. You will be able to see who is editing what because the users type in there names and what they type is in a different color. Also built in is a chat function so you can have discussion while you are working on your document. Taking it one step further, have your students create a document with several words that describe a story that you are working on and turn there words into a Wordle. For Wordle Ideas see my previous article “Quick Tip: 50 Ways to use Wordle’s in the classroom” There is also and Ipad app that I think this is a very useful utility that us quick and easy to setup and use. Follow Ietherpad on twitter for updates and news @ietherpad
Interactive collaborative whiteboard- Sometimes you may want to make a diagram or collaborate with a blank slate. A great tool that I have found for this is Scriblink. “Scriblink is a free digital whiteboard that users can share online in real-time. Sorta like pen and paper, minus the dead trees, plastic, and the inconvenience of being at the same place at the same time.”- From Scriblink’s Website. Scriblink allows you to Save Your Board for future use and also allows you to send files and attachments. Like the about page says it is a very convenient and easy to use utility that will allow you to collaborate in real-time.
Have any other tools that you have found to collaborate in realtime? Let me know!