Post from Sam Pilgrim:
Since September, I have been trying out different online collaborative tools in class.
The one students like best so far is http://titanpad.com/. It allows students to work in groups on the same page. It’s quick to set up and access on the computer, so it can be used instead of paper or mini-whiteboards for a starter activity, or for planning and research activities during the main part of a lesson.
You can open a page publicly, or share a link (eg via a post on Edmodo) and work privately. As each student’s contribution appears in a different colour, you can see if anyone is not participating, and peer pressure from the rest of the group, tends to mean everyone contributes! My KS4 and KS5 students have really taken to it and now independently choose to use it for research and planning.
Whilst TitanPad is good, it is really only for text-based notes. However, I have also tried out http://padlet.com/. Originally, the interface was not popular with students, but new features have now been added (eg add Youtube links and iPad pictures) which mean it might be worth another look. Padlet produces a “wall” – like an electronic collage so is great for research, revision or summarising a topic.
Once we get BYOD going and access to more mobile devices within school, collaboration tools will become more accessible to staff and students. Apps such as iCloud and Explain Everything will come into their own at that point, and I’m really looking forward to trying them out to see how they can enhance and transform learning!