Collaboration Web 2.0 tools are tools that permit users to work with one another online in a variety of ways. They provide ways to extend learning outside the classroom walls. Some may be embedded in a website and others are the class hubs where class creations are shared.
Wikispaces provides a free K-12 wiki where users can post, publish, and share an unlimited number of pages. Share files, images, text, or embed media in a wiki that can be set private, protected, or public. Wiki is the quintessential collaboration tool. Since it is by design continuously under construction it is perfect for sharing the creative process, not just the end product. All users become editors, and since all changes are recorded, they can easily be reverted. Student accounts are easily set without the need for student email accounts.
Edmodo is a social learning network for K-12 based on a microblogging model. It is a private social networking platform for teachers and students to share ideas, files, events, and assignments. Teacher tools include a calendar, grade book, and library for storing and sharing materials. They can also use the mobile web as Edmodo works with any smart phone, although it is optimized for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android. Edmodo is a good option for the organizational hub where all digital projects are collected, discussed, and shared with the learning community: teachers, students, and parents.
Wallwisher is an Internet application that allows people to express their thoughts on a common topic within a wall. This can be done by creating a message with 160 or less characters or an audio, image, or video link. The wall can be set to private, the account holder can moderate all comments, or it can be open for everyone. One does not need to have a personal account in order to comment. Each wall has a unique URL, which may be shared via social networks. The wall may also be embedded or one can create an RSS feed for it. Since comments can be left anonymously Wallwisher could provide a nonthreatening way to ask questions or comment to an ongoing conversation.
Dabbleboard is an online collaboration tool that is suitable for a teacher to create an account and then share the whiteboard with students by embedding it in a website. Students can then collaborate on the embedded whiteboard. Users can insert a document or images from the web or personal computer on the whiteboard. Teachers could also use Dabbleboard to collaborate with other teachers or experts by using the video chat feature. Students can utilize Dabbleboard for organizing information and collaborative work such as building a presentation. Nota is a dynamic collaboration canvas. Within Nota, users can work independently or collaborate with others in drawings, scrapbook/photo albums, study notebooks, message boards, or books. Users can insert Google maps, YouTube videos, Wikipedia info, Flickr images, clipart, or word art easily using the provided toolbar. Web album options include Facebook, Picasa, and Flickr. Gadgets include webcam, access counter, and message board. Public notebooks can be shared on Facebook, Blogger, LiveJournal, or embedded to a website. Moreover, Nota is supposed to push changes automatically to where the notebook is embedded. It is also possible to print the pages. Nota appears to provide teachers with many options for how to utilize it. They may embed the whiteboard on a website to create a sign-up sheet, comment wall, or a fill-in type of task where students complete the assignment by leaving a comment. They can also have students invite them as editors for their notebooks.
Scriblink is a free digital whiteboard that users can share with five other people online in real-time. Scriblink does not require registration, yet is only open to those who are invited to share it by email or by sharing the URL. The whiteboard creations can be saved, emailed, printed, or transferred to collaborators. Scriblink includes free VOIP conferencing options and in-screen chat. In class, Scriblink could be used as a sketchpad or an assignment sheet. Since users can upload an image to the background students could be asked to describe it, utilize as an inspiration to a writing assignment, or build a presentation around it.
VoiceThread is a multimedia slideshow that enables group conversation in one place no matter where participants are or what time it is there. Voicethread has a K-12 version with options for educator, school, and district subscription at cost. The free personal account option was used for this review. VoiceThread supports PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, images, and videos. There are five ways to comment: by computer microphone, text, audio file, telephone, or webcam. One account can have multiple identities, which means no need to log in and out between group members who need to comment. An invitation can also be emailed to other VoiceThread account holders. This would permit, for example, a reading specialist to comment on a class project. Other ways to use Voicethread include telling a story, retelling a story, reflecting on a story, recreating it, reporting on a project etc. With the free account, users are limited to three voice threads.
Wiggio provides users with an online toolkit for group collaboration. This tool allows users to share files, create to do lists, polls, and calendars, host web meetings, make conference calls, and use chat rooms. The conference calls include voice, webcam, and shared whiteboard. The tool allows communicating with a group by email, text, and voice messages. Parental permission is required for students under 18. It is also suggested that parents become members. The files can be created on Wiggio, uploaded, or shared by URL address. The account feed shows all actions by members or they can be filtered to show only certain actions. Groups are created by adding email or Facebook contacts. Thus, at the elementary level, Wiggio can be used as a communication hub for families housing all homework, important assignments, permission slips, etc. and available at all times in one place. It could also incorporate links to important resources such as research tools or tutorials for the different web tools students are using at school in order to help parents help their children. Group members do not actually need to sign up.