How To Use Online Collaboration Tools

How To Use Online Collaboration Tools

The tools that make collaboration possible are constantly changing, but the methods we use to collaborate are not. No matter what tool you’re using, here are some tips on how to keep your team productive and on-task no matter where they’re working from:

  1. Encourage honesty. Don’t let your teammates be afraid of being honest about what they think is and isn’t working. The more you’re all able to talk about problems, the faster you’ll be able to fix them.
  2. Trust each other. It’s easy to get defensive when you don’t know who’s making comments on a project or saying what in a group chat, but trust that everyone involved wants the project to succeed as much as you do.
  3. Remember that everyone is still human! Collaboration tools can feel cold and impersonal, but it’s important to remember that everyone involved is still a person with feelings and emotions just like you!

Educational technology is changing its ways nowadays and eLearning is becoming the new trend. Collaboration and learning are the two sides of the same coin. Collaboration is a way where learners work towards common goal and interaction is the important element of online learning. It is all about the rhythm to use the collaborative tools. Once it is set, it is quite simple to run eLearning projects and learn online.

What Are Online Collaboration Tools?

There are a lot of benefits of collaborative learning as it lets the students to grab a knowledge from others experience in an engaged way. Hence the need of collaboration tools. But what do you mean by online collaboration tools? It is basically referred to web-based tools that allows students and teachers to perform various tasks, share and access the resources, discuss, perform online activities and many more. Online collaboration tools deserve a special attention for eLearning professional. Let’s look at the methods to streamline your learning process.

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Choosing The Right Tools For Online Collaboration Tools

To make sure you get the best eLearning experience, it is quite important to pick the best online collaboration tools. Take benefit of collaborative online working methods and reshape your eLearning process. Here are some of the best tools that enable smooth collaboration amongst learners.

1. Project Management: ProofHub

Project management is a wide topic that includes many things and is an important part of eLearning. You will need to know whether you have distributed the assignments equally among members, how every member is working on assignments and will the project deadline be reached. For all your little details, ProofHub – a cloud based project management software will help you to improve communication and collaboration in learning projects.

What I like:

  • You can communicate through group chat.
  • Raise issues and these get resolved easily.
  • Sharing of files, documents and information becomes simple.
  • Notes functionality will help group members to write content together.
  • Sharing of ideas becomes very easy.
  • It also lets you connect with your projects on the go from their mobile.
  • Great calendar view lets you see everything you need.
  • Kanban view turns tasks into boards that are also easy to see at a glance.

2. Web Meeting And Document Sharing: ShowDocument

ShowDocument is an online platform that is based on web meeting and sharing documents. Users can review documents in real time and visible to all users and accessible for co-editing. It allows multiple learners to conduct meetings, upload, share and review documents remotely.

What I like:

  • We can share documents online.
  • App-based web meetings.
  • You can share your screen.
  • Share google maps.
  • Co-edit documents.
  • Use a chat translator.
  • Share an online whiteboard.

3. Create And Edit Documents: Google Docs

Google Docs has some powerful features for eLearners projects. Google Docs can be used by online learners to collaborate on team projects! You can bring your documents to life with smart editing and styling tools.

What I like: 

  • Yes, it’s free.
  • Save documents on the cloud.
  • Simplifies document storage for teams.
  • Amazing templates are available for free.
  • Various people can even work on the same document at the same time.

4. Keep The World Talking: Skype

Skype offers some amazing features to let you stay connected with everyone learning online. It is reliable and easy to use.  Students can have their personal Skype accounts and enjoy the features to collaborate easily. It is an effective tool for course instructors to discuss progress or concerns with their students.

What I like: 

  • Skype to Skype calls.
  • Allows group calls.
  • One to one video calls.
  • Video messaging.
  • Instant messaging.

5. Collaborate Creatively: Invisionapp

Invisionapp will bring your whole team together to build better eLearning projects. The online learners can easily upload files, documents, GIFs, JPGs, PNGs, and PDFs and also add animation to transform their static screens into interactive prototypes.

What I like:

  • Solid workflow process.
  • Browsing and sharing files easily.
  • Flexible way to collaborate in real time.
  • Better manage projects with new page.

Final Word

Using collaboration tools is an important of increasing the interest of students learning online. All the tools listed above are suitable for all online projects. Get in sync with these tools. These are the smart processes to smart learning. Select the best one for you and enjoy the online benefits of education.

Collaboration In eLearning: Online Collaboration Tools For eLearning Teams

Given the mounting consumer demands on modern-day businesses in terms of innovation and time-to-market speed, segmenting projects into bite-sized tasks for distribution among team members is the way forward. And because eLearning reaches diverse audiences worldwide, collaboration among teams is vital to creating highly impactful online courses. As such, below is a list of online collaboration tools for eLearning teams that help with the design and development of their eLearning courses:

1. Brainstorming/Mind Mapping: MindMeister

Mind mapping is the practice of using diagrams to represent ideas, tasks, or items linked to a central topic. A mind map is a visual tool that allows users to better structure information, thus helping them better understand and analyze concepts, and ultimately develop new ideas.

A mind mapping tool that can be used by teams is MindMeister, which showcases a minimalistic user interface and offers features like team management and credential-based access. For a better grasp of the ins and outs of the tool, MindMeister has a training section, the MindMeister Academy, with four separate courses that cover the fundamentals, features, use cases, and best practices.

2. Project Management: Wrike

Project management covers a host of things, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the details, such as deadlines, staffing requirements and possible constraints, and scope creep. You want to know if eLearning assignments have been equally distributed among members, what each is working on, how they’re faring, and whether or not the project’s deadline will be met based on their progress.

Online project management tools like Wrike allow you to create secure team workspaces where the entire team can collaborate, brainstorm, send updates, share project files, perform accountability checks, discuss wins and areas for improvement, celebrate milestones, and so on. To get the most out of Wrike, you may sign up for their live webinars for free.

3. Communication: Skype

Communication is the bedrock of effective collaboration. You need a reliable communication channel to get everyone on the same page, especially if you’re working with a geographically dispersed eLearning team.

A Microsoft subsidiary since 2011, Skype is a pioneer in the online voice call and video chat industry and includes free and premium communication services for both individual and team use. Skype for Business comes with features that cover messaging, online meetings with up to 250 people, and screen sharing.

To get started, Skype’s Help page is a compilation of articles on a myriad of help topics. Just choose the device you’re using from the dropdown menu. Also, in case you’re interested, Microsoft certification trainings such as MCSE: Communication includes course modules that tackle Skype for Business and Office 365.

4. Visualization And Prototyping: InVision

Visualization and prototyping aren’t just popular among web and mobile app developers. They have their uses in eLearning as well, particularly in the visual design aspect. At the end of the day, no matter how well-researched your courses, poor presentation would require learners to exert more effort.

InVision is a design collaboration platform you can use to present the course’s visual elements to clients and other stakeholders. The feedback you instantly get from the rest of the team can help you design better visuals.

InVision has a help center that features “getting started” articles, a knowledge base, and a community forum for everything you need to know about the tool.

5. Collaborative Editing/File Sharing: G Suite By Google Cloud

File and document sharing is huge among collaborative teams, and emailing files back and forth just won’t cut it. Important people may be left out of threads, or somebody may reference an outdated slide or spreadsheet in a presentation.

G Suite by Google Cloud (formerly Google Apps) is a collection of Google applications with features specifically designed for teams, such as one-click video conferences, shared calendars, automatic email invites, and real-time collaborative editing on documents, slides, and spreadsheets across web and mobile devices. G Suite includes Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites, Admin, and Vault.

To get you up and running with G Suite, the G Suite Learning Center has the resources you need. A Chrome extension is likewise available for easy access to interactive training sessions.

online collaboration tools for students

contributed by Nicholas Martino & TeachThought Staff

We are living in a digital age where students shuffle between learning apps and social and communication platforms constantly.

We can now communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime through the simple click of a button, and it is our job as educators to leverage these collaborative tools in the classroom. Many schools are finding creative ways to incorporate blended learning in their curriculums, and THINK Global School, where I teach, is no different.

Due to our focus on blended learning and travel, it is imperative that we remain as paperless as possible. Technology can often make or break our experiences as we study in different countries around the world, so we must hit the ground running during our seven-week intensive country visits. And depending on how they are integrated into our teaching toolkits, the tools used for our blended learning units can either help or hinder our student learning experiences.

Like you, we’ve tested our fair share of tools in trying to make the digital collaboration process with our students as seamless as possible. Some have worked incredibly while others not so much. But there are five that we’ve ended up going back to time after time–tools that just make student collaboration online (and thus blended learning) that much easier.

Student-To-Student & School-To-School Digital Collaboration: 30 Of The Best Digital Collaboration Tools For Students

1. Dig social bookmarks? You’ll love Diigo

Remember the old days when a librarian came carting books into your classroom for an upcoming report?

Imagine Diigo as a digital version of that librarian and the entire internet as her cart. Items in this cart, however, can be retained for as long as you like without the fear of overdue book fees. Diigo, which stands for ‘Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff,’ is a great social-bookmarking tool that helps students or classes capture relevant research articles on a given topic.

By offering mobile versions via Android and iOS and add-ons downloadable for Firefox and Chrome, Diigo can be accessed anywhere, anytime—perfect for lessons in the classroom and those that extend out into the field.

How We Use Diigo 

This tool has become a crucial part of our school’s approach to managing project-based learning resources. Since we are constantly on-the-move, a few books, let alone entire physical libraries, are impossible for us to reasonably transport. Diigo eliminates that concern, and helps our students curate and build an ever-growing library of bookmarks for our modules year after year.

Countries and specific place- and project-based modules have their own groups for students to contribute to and annotate resources. When a guest speaker visits, we can quickly create a research group to curate a list of resources so that our entire student body is informed and attentive before the speaker arrives.

2. Tap into your students’ love of video with Flipgrid

FlipGrid is a video tool that is meant to encourage discussion and engagement. These short video-logs allow students to share ideas and opinions in a fun and hands-on way, as video submissions are often more enticing to students than a written response (this is especially true for teachers of ESL learners, who sometimes get anxiety about their written work.)

FlipGrid provides another approach for long-distance collaboration: The time limits are an added challenge to students who sometimes struggle with brevity. It’s important to note that the free version offers limited features, while the paid version features offer full student collaboration and video conversation.

In our Economics and eCommerce module, students use FlipGrid to summarize, discuss and review two different resources for the project-based learning module. In the module, students learn social entrepreneurship and e-commerce by developing a web store to support rural artisans.

Before their arrival in India, students researched the stories behind successful brands and shared them in a ‘grid.’ In the ‘grid,’ students use rhetorical devices to compete with their classmates to pitch the story of the brand they selected. This early application of rhetoric devices develops throughout the module before students present a business pitch to a panel of potential investors.

3. Collectively annotate YouTube videos with VideoAnt

As a former history and anthropology teacher, I was thrilled to stumble across VideoAnt. In the past, my students would laugh at the number of times I would pause a video to ask a question or interject a counterpoint. Now, instead of just showing a YouTube video, you can annotate YouTube videos to maximize efficiency and learning.

Students and teachers can add comments to video ‘Ants,’ adding all sorts of untapped academic potential. Students can point out bias, critique video style, and ask probing and clarifying questions, just to name a few uses.

Also, if any coaches are reading this, this makes for an excellent review tool when analyzing practice drills, pre-game scouting, and game film breakdowns.

How We Use VideoAnt

In our Zero to Infinity module, students carved up an hour-long documentary about mathematics titled “The Story of One.” Educators annotate certain times with questions for reflection and short answers, while students annotate with different follow-up questions, and clarifying comments.

Due to our students’ geographic diversity, there can be large gaps in their understanding of mathematics. This tool helps educators gain more insight into the student math experience before starting the module.

4. Create & Collaborate Anywhere in the World with Padlet

Padlet allows for creative collaboration using a range of different mixed media sources.

In real-time or across time zones, students can contribute videos, images, comments on a virtual corkboard. Each student can comment or reply to the work of another student or add a new strand on the topic that is introduced.

How We Use Padlet

During our ongoing “Water and Sustainability” module, students are using Padlet to document their experiences with data collection and the use of statistics in their daily life. They are sharing passions, applications, and websites to help each other realize the everyday benefits of understandings statistics. These include a range of topics such as distance running, gardening, vegetarian nutrition, and sleep maintenance.

By learning about each other, they are in turn gaining a deeper understanding of the wide range of applications of statistics.

25 More Of The Best Digital Collaboration Tools For Students

5. Skype: Video chat, text chat, etc.

6. Zoom: Live stream video and video chat

7. Google Drive: Collaborate on multimedia projects, share files, collaborate on documents, etc.

8. WeTransfer: Transfer files of almost any size with WeTransfer. Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive (9) are decent alternatives.

10. Scribblar: Online collaborative whiteboarding. Also consider ‘Explain Everything.’

11. Microsoft Translator: Translate languages via text, voice, or photograph to more easily communicate in other languages. Also, consider Google Translate (12)

12. Twitch: Stream games for game-based learning. Channels, chat, and more.

13. Pear Deck: According to the developer, Pear Desk is a tool for Google Slide presentations and templates that allows you to transform “presentations into classroom conversations with an array of interactive and formative assessment questions.”

14. Kahoot: Game-based learning and content reinforcement through competition and collaboration

15. Drawp: According to the developer, Drawp is “a K-12 platform for creation, collaboration, content, and workflow management” Also consider Seesaw (16) learning journal.

17. Minecraft for Education: Students can work together to explore ecosystems, solve problems through design, architecture, etc. See also teaching with Strategies To Teach Like Minecraft.

18. Voicethread: Content-based conversations about selected media through ‘threads’

See also 10 tips for using Voicethread in your classroom.

19. Explain Everything: Similar in function to Voicethread but focused on students visually demonstrating knowledge rather than through voice.

See also Free Explain Everything lesson ideas.

20. GooseChaseEdu: Online scavenger hunts. for team-building and content reinforcement.

21. Microsoft Teams: A digital hub likely best-suited for project-based learning support. Also consider Slack (22) Redbooth (23) or Trello (24).

25. Spiral: A formative assessment tool with video, group and quiz exercises, completed in class or at home, collaborative review, etc.

26. Piazza: A free, K-12+ Q&A platform

Also consider Quora (27) or reddit (28).

29. Peergrade: According to the developer, Peergrade is a “free online platform to facilitate peer feedback sessions with students.”

30. Playposit: According to the developer, Playposit is “an online learning environment to create and share interactive video lessons. Teachers begin with any online video (screencasts, Khan Academy, TED, etc.) and transform what is traditionally passive content into an active experience for students, with time-embedded activities.”

Tip: Most tools are either for ‘school’ or ‘not school.’ That means tools like Seesaw and Explain Everything are made for school and tools like Quora and reddit aren’t. Obviously, school-friendly tools have many benefits (e.g., data privacy) but drawbacks as well (e.g., lack of authentic content). When using ‘not made expressly for school’ tools, try to leverage its strengths while minimizing its pitfalls


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