You are here


Collaborative Technologies

These “new” tools to encourage collaboration are simply updated versions of classic classroom activities.


While many educators have always had their students maintain journals as part of their course work, a blog is the online version, but with a collaborative component. Well-known free blogging sites include Blogger, LiveJournal, WordPress and TypePad, while many school Web site design companies, such as eChalk and School Loop, include blogging utilities.


Social Networking:

Sites like Saywire, or student information systems that include a social networking component, are updating many components of school life: the profile page as a continually maintained yearbook entry, blogs as journals, discussion forums as extended classroom conversations, image hosting as photo albums, and even “wall” posts as passing notes.


Interactive Whiteboard Accessories:

New technologies are now updating the interactive whiteboard, which is itself an updated version of the chalkboard. In particular, whiteboard accessories make whiteboards more collaborative, since all too often students are left sitting and watching a teacher’s presentation. Products such as student response clickers, which remotely register student answers to questions and can display the results on a large screen, or interactive tablets, which connect and control whiteboards wirelessly and can be passed around the classroom, enable students to collaborate with their teachers and each other.



While school video projects have been assigned ever since the first camcorders came to market, the advent of inexpensive digital video cameras like the Flip Mino and video hosting services like YouTube has enabled the rapid growth of student-created video, as well as the capability for global sharing and collaborative input.



Schools are using wikis on sites such as PBwiki and Wikispaces to enable students to post their progress on research papers, or individual or group projects, so teachers can track and monitor work and offer comments or suggestions, all of which is a 21st-century version of the back-and-forth “rough drafts” process.


E-mail Exchanges:

Sites like ePals and GlobalSchoolNet have updated the age-old activity of writing letters to pen pals with a global network of schools and districts communicating via e-mail and blogs. Students and teachers can keep in touch with others around the country and the world, gaining responses within seconds.

For more information: