Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tech Tools for Collaboration

For our last CTELE project, our class had to create a question about metacognition to research. In our groups, we had to create a survey to see what our classmates thought about our question, put our information into a presentation that summarized our data, and combine all of our information into a document that we were to submit. The catch (because of course there was a catch) was that we weren't allowed to talk to each other about our project face-to-face. We could only communicate to our group members using technology. It was left very open-ended, and we could have used as many different technologies as we wanted. My group chose to use the chat/comment function on Google Docs, since that was where we were doing most of our project. We also communicated on Facebook chat since we all used Facebook regularly and we knew there was a greater chance that we would see each other's comments when we used Facebook versus another communication form.

In today's world, collaboration from a distance is getting easier and easier. Thanks to Google Apps, it's possible to create and edit documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, etc., as a group, online! Video programs like Skype, Adobe Connect, or Zoom (which we got to experience as a class) allow groups to see their collaborators even though they may be miles (or continents!) apart.  There are countless apps available for smartphones and tablets that allow you to talk through text, voice, or pictures and share things with others, such as Voxer, Kik, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and the list goes on and on.

It really is amazing to think about the number of tools that we have at our disposal to collaborate with others. Many of the resources that I listed above are already used by people to casually talk and share things with friends, family, classmates, or coworkers. However, any of these tools could be used to collaborate with peers. As educators, we need to be aware of all of the collaborative tools that are available to ourselves and to our students! The possibilities for digital collaboration are endless, and the tools are right at our fingertips.

Photo by William Brawley, Flickr.com, http://www.flickr.com/photos/williambrawley/4067629406/sizes/l/

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