If you look at some recent posts here, I’ve been exploring what good web tools are available for online real-time collaboration between my classes and some potential “sister” classes in other parts of the world.
My criteria has included:
* No software download is required.
* It’s free.
* No equipment is required other than, in some cases, a microphone. A webcam needs to be optional.
* Multiple users can collaborate at the same time.
* English Language Learners can use the tools easily.
* I can think of it having an education use.
I’m not ready to make one of my “Best of…” lists ranking these tools yet, since I haven’t tried them in a class environment. So I’ll just list the sites here. I’ll rank them after my students try them out.
The ones I’ve found that I think meet these criteria (so far) include:
Scriblink, an online whiteboard that can be used by up to five people at one time.
Skrbl, another online whiteboard. Skrbl lets you copy and paste text and documents — Scriblink does not.
Zoho Show and Google Presentations let you work with others on PowerPoint-like presentations in real-time.
MeBeam and Tokbox, two online video conferencing sites. They both allow you to just use microphones for audio if you don’t have a webcam. MeBeam lets up to eighteen people participate, while Tokbox lets up to six.
Mind42 is a “mindmapping” tool that has tremendous collaborative features. I’m still having a hard time, though, figuring out more than one or two minor educational projects that students could create with it.
Browzmi is a browser that allows you to look at different websites simultaneously and chat about it with others. I could see it used to collaborate doing research.
Thinkature is another online whiteboard that I just recently learned about, and haven’t had time to explore or write about it. It seems to have the option of both audio and text chat, which seems to make it different from the other whiteboard sites I’ve listed.
I’ll be placing direct links to all of these sites on my Teacher’s Page under a new section called “Real-Time Collaboration Sites.” I probably won’t get around to doing that, however, until the weekend.
Am I missing any sites that would meet the criteria I laid-out earlier?