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Tools for Collaboration

blendedlearning's picture

One of the advantages of educational technology is that it creates new spaces for interactivity and collaboration. These three resources allow students to think through texts together, share their ideas, and even work through problems in a collective workspace. While all three are different, and target slightly different populations, together these three OERs provide a range of tools for educational collaboration using blended learning technologies.

Resources covered:
Classroom Salon

VoiceThread and Classroom Salon (also covered in Writing Resources for Students) both work best when integrated into a curriculum and implemented by an instructor. While students can use VoiceThread independently by uploading their own multi-media assignment fore comments and review, it provides several useful tools to instructors including built-in analytics to track and monitor use and an activity feed which provides instant notification of comments. VoiceThread also hosts a Digital Library showcasing successful projects and best practices for implementing the technology in the classroom. Classroom Salon works similarly by promoting collaborative annotation. Instructors can upload texts and then track student comments and responses.

Twiddla's Team WhiteBoarding is rather different. While VoiceThread and Classroom Salon are better suited to Humanities and Social Sciences, Twiddla allows users to work together on a blank canvas and - particularly given its built-in formula editor - can be used effectively in Math and the Sciences. In addition to the blank canvase WhiteBoard functions, Twiddla also has a function called "co-browsing" which allows multiple users to browse websites together in real-time while annotating, sharing files, and chatting. Note, however, that while Twiddla is definitely a useful educational tool, it is designed primarily or a workplace setting, so not all of the functions are useful for educational work. Plus, while the basic features are free using Guest access, students may balk at the subscription fees needed to unlock additional features.