4 Collaborative Tools for Students

4 Collaborative Tools for Students
The Editorial Team February 1, 2013

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With smartphones, tablets, Kindles and convertible laptops, students of every age are more connected than ever. Advances in cloud computing have contributed to the rise of online sharing services, and several of those tools work well as collaborative tools for students who have to work in groups or pairs on projects. These tools save time that would otherwise be spent passing files back and forth or traveling. Because most of these tools have mobile apps, students can do research, work on projects and finish homework no matter where they are or whether they have access to a computer. Students and teachers alike will find these tools useful.

1. Google Drive

Google products are the obvious solution when it comes to anything a student needs to do online, and they’re not just good for people who own Android phones or tablets. Google Drive, formerly Google Docs, is a document-creation and editing tool that students can also use to store files online. There’s no more need to fuss with flash drives when students can email papers directly to teachers from within Drive.

The collaboration tools are also nice. Students can create word documents, presentations, Web forms, drawings or spreadsheets and invite other users to view or edit them. Students can even edit documents together in real time. Each user will see the other user’s edits as they happen. Students can make notes in documents for other team members to view. To discover precise ways of utilizing Google Docs as a collaboration tool, check out this article from Knoji which describes 12 ways students can unleash the power of the online word processor.

2. Podio

Podio is a collaboration tool geared toward students. It’s one of the collaborative tools for students who have team projects. The features include:

  • A task manager
  • The ability to pin/save files
  • Surveys to collect data online
  • Workspaces for organizing different projects
  • iOS and Android apps

It’s free for students to sign up for Podio as long as they use an email address associated with a university or college. The process also helps students or professionals find their associates who might already be using the service. Podio has a comprehensive dashboard that makes it easy to use, and students can work on the same project together in real time.

3. Stixy

According to Stixy, collaboration can be fun, and the bright website wants students to think so too. Stixy is a bit like Evernote, but it incorporates teamwork by allowing multiple persons to edit projects, add images and other media, create to-do lists, and even add sticky notes directly to the project. Stixy facilitates teamwork without necessarily letting students step on others’ toes. Sticky notes allow users to make comments and suggest changes without permanently altering the document.

Projects on Stixy save to a Stixyboard, which students can easily share with a few clicks. The virtual pin boards are useful for giving a visual of a project. Every board has a member base that is able to edit and alter the contents. Those same projects can be sent to professors to give them the nod of approval. While Stixy’s ability to fully customize fonts and colors is fun, accessing files and notes online is also functional.

4. Wikidot

The last collaborative tool on this list is a little different. Wikis are the basis for sites like Wikipedia, which let you create pages and upload files about any topic. According to the official website. Wikidot has powered more than 2,000 educational wikis. Collaboration comes into place with the pages, which are editable by a team of people. Wikidot promotes research and citation with footnotes, and mathematical equations work well with the system.

Teachers can even get in on the action by using the tool to publish presentations, PDFs and other resources for lectures. Educators who employ Wikidot can have more control over projects and individual wikis than some of the other tools on this list too. Wikidot provides users with all the necessary tools to create functional wikis.

Because wikis incorporate forums, more conversation occurs than with tools that simply use sticky notes or require students to rely on email instead. The way Wikidot tracks changes is especially useful when it comes to working on group projects. While Wikidot isn’t the best tool for every project, it’s a great way to collaborate on intensive projects.

5. Barbra.io

Barbra.io lets classmates create online study groups to share flashcards, notes, and goals with one another. This platform helps students collaborate online just as they would in a classroom. There’s even a special version for teachers.

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