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50 Free Collaboration Tools That Are Awesome for Education

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April 7th, 2010

Whether you are looking for tools that can bring a distance education class together or tools to help students and teachers in traditional classrooms working on group projects, the following collaboration tools will help with any need. From group papers to file sharing to group communication, the following tools will help bring any educational group together seamlessly to produce awesome results.

Group Projects and Papers

When working on group projects or research papers, these tools make collaboration a breeze.

  1. Nicenet. This tool is made just for education and includes document sharing, communication, link sharing, and scheduling.
  2. Redliner. Students working on a group project that requires editing will enjoy using this tool that allows multiple users to easily edit Word documents.
  3. Collanos. Projects that require lots of communication, notes, and discussions will benefit from this tool that allows all of that and more to be kept in one place.
  4. EtherPad. This web-based word processor allows multiple users to work simultaneously on a document. Each person’s work is highlighted in a different color to keep everything understandable.
  5. Writeboard. Groups can write, collaborate, share their individual work, and more with this simple and free web-based tool.
  6. writewith. Writing projects just got easier with this tool that provides a place for students to share documents and tasks, hold discussions, and more.
  7. Zoho Show. Great online presentations are easy to create collaboratively with this powerful free tool.
  8. Google Docs. Students can work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations individually and collaboratively with this dynamic tool.
  9. ThinkFold. Perfect for the planning stages of a group project, ThinkFold helps students create real-time outlines collaboratively.
  10. Thinkature. Use this tool to collaborate, organize research and ideas, and prepare final projects.
  11. Thinkfree. The free services here include document creation and sharing, file sharing, collaboration, and more.

Discussion Groups and Communication

Don’t let a little thing like distance stop your group or class from communicating. Use these free tools instead.

  1. MemberHub. Up to 30 members can communicate in one place for free with this tool.
  2. Yugma. The free version of this tool allows up to 20 people to web conference and is a great way for groups to connect when they can’t be in the same location.
  3. ProBoards. Create an online discussion board easily and quickly with this tool that works like online forums and can be made private.
  4. Pidgin. No matter what IM platform students are using, they can all connect with Pidgin.
  5. 99Chats. Create your own chat room with this tool.
  6. AwayFind. If you are in class but don’t want to miss any truly important emails, then use this tool to have only the emails you select sent directly to you via SMS, Twitter DM, IM, or a phone call.
  7. Skype. If your group is spread far and wide, but you need to meet anyway, use Skype to make video and voice calls and even share files.

Research, Note Taking, and File Sharing

Share your research, notetaking, and files with these great tools.

  1. CiteULike. When students find scholarly articles on the Internet, they can share them, then organize and store their work with this tool.
  2. NoteMesh. Just for college students, this free tool allows you to share notes with others in your class.
  3. Notefish. This tool can aid students by saving web content, which can be organized and shared with others.
  4. NoteCentric.This tool was created by a student and allows college students to easily share and store notes.
  5. Springnote. Use this tool as a group notebook to keep notes for classes, projects, or other tasks.
  6. wridea. A great way to keep brainstorming sessions documented and organized, this free tool is a must-have for groups working together.
  7. FruitNotes. This online notebook offers a great way to keep and organize notes, store photos, and share with others. You can even send notes via your phone.
  8. Kablink. File sharing and real-time meetings are two of the biggest highlights of this tool.
  9. drop.io. Students can share images, documents, audio and video files, and more with this tool.

Social Networking

Social networking provides an opportunity for students and teachers to connect beyond the classroom walls in new and innovative ways.

  1. ePals. Students can connect with other classrooms around the world with this tool that has a strict education-only focus.
  2. iLeonardo. This social network provides a place for researchers and students to collaborate on any research topic.
  3. The Quad. Make sure you have access to an .edu email address to access the tools here that include group projects, calendars, and more.
  4. Loomagoo. Students can share notes and study guides and even buy and sell text books on this site.
  5. Student.com. High school and college students can find help with school work, prepare for college admission, and socialize with other students.
  6. WiZiQ. Teachers and learners can all take part in this web-based learning opportunity that is free for anyone to participate in.
  7. LearnHub. LearnHub is all about education sharing and allows students to share their knowledge, find what they need to know, and even study for major standardized exams.
  8. Campusbug. Students will find resources for their homework and projects as well as connections with other students.

Wikis and Blogs

Use these wikis and blogs to share information within a class or with the rest of the world.

  1. Wikispaces. Create a free classroom wiki with this popular wiki service.
  2. PBworks. This wiki is super easy to start using and will have your classroom working together in no time.
  3. Class Blogmeister. Educators can use this free service to create a class blog and locate other class blogs to share learning across classrooms.
  4. Edublogs. This blogging platform provides plenty of great features and is just for education purposes.
  5. Blogger. Get a free and easy-to-use blog from this popular blogging platform.
  6. Twitter. Educators are finding tons of great ways to use this microblogging tool for connecting with people around the world and creating dynamic learning experiences.
  7. Edmodo. Similar to Twitter, Edmodo is just for the educational setting and offers a more private way to engage in microblogging.
  8. Socialtext. Get a free microblogging platform for up to 50 users to have a private Twitter-like experience in your classroom.

Task Management

These tools are helpful for keeping both the individual and an entire class on track so that no assignment or task gets left behind.

  1. Google Calendar. Google Calendar is a great sharable calendar that a whole class can use to stay on task with assignments, tests, and more.
  2. MyNoteit. Just for college students, this free tool allows students to organize and share notes, assignments, to-do lists, a calendar, and tasks.
  3. MeetWithApproval. Students working together can plan a meeting, study group, or other event with this tool.
  4. CollegeRuled. College students can create schedules, print or share them on Facebook, and participate in class message boards.
  5. Remember the Milk. This tool is a popular to-do list that keeps tasks organized. Some of the features include reminders, integration with Google Calendar, iPhone compatibility, and the ability to share with others.
  6. Toodledo. Another to-do list, Toodledo offers a feature that organizes and analyzes your dates, priorities, and time estimates to create a time management schedule that will keep any student, teacher, or group on task.
  7. GradeMate. Both teachers and students will enjoy the benefits of this tool that is made for managing grades and organizing and sharing assignments, notes, files, discussions, and more.

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