Thing x: Collaborating, Connecting, Sharing

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This topic focuses on tools and services that help us collaborate with others. This includes tools that help students work on projects together, build collaborative presentations, create team-built wikis around research topics, share calendars for scheduling, teleporting visitors into your classroom (well, ‘videoing’ them in at least) and more.

Of course, many of these tools can also be used for individual work, with the advantage of being able to share work with classmates, instructors and others for review, reaction and input. And collaboration goes hand-in-hand with connecting and sharing, so there are a few extra tools focused on those ideas too.

NOTE: Some of these tools overlap with other lessons. Please pick new tools to explore or delve much more deeply into tools you already use.


There is a long list of tools below and there are many more terrific ones that we haven’t included.

Since you obviously don’t have time to learn them all for this lesson:

  • Pick 2 tools from the list below, either ones that are new to you or ones that you want to explore more completely.
  • Or pick other tools that you’ve been eager to try out.
  • Explore how the tools work and check out the help files to see what features are available.
  • For your Thing 49 blog post, share what you picked and how it worked for you.
    • Include pros and cons, problems and successes.
    • Do you think you’ll continue to use it?
    • How might you use it with your students?
  • Don’t just write “I tried xyz tool and it worked well.” That’s not enough!


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to the Google Classroom assignment page, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.



  • Google Drive – Create documents and invite others to collaborate. Multiple users can be editing in real-time. Edits and revisions are tracked, older versions can be restored. Word documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations and more. Use Google Forms to gather feedback, collect data and create quizzes. You can also upload documents created on your computer for sharing via Google Docs. And don’t miss the Google Drive Addons, particularly the EasyBib addon. Also 15 Best Google Drive Add-ons for Education.
  • Check out Kaizena, a tool for leaving audio comments on Google Drive. Give your students audio feedback.

Sharing Documents

  • Google Drive – In addition to creating documents on Google Drive, users can also upload files for easy sharing. Provides 15 GB of storage for free, but that space does include your gmail and google photos storage.  Upgrade to 100 GB for $20/year or 1 Terabyte for $100/year.
  • Dropbox – Like Google Drive, this is a great tool for storing files in the cloud. Though you’re limited to 2GB of storage with their free account. Like any cloud storage service, it’s a great place to store large files that you’ll need while away from your main computer. Or to share files that are too large to email. Simply opt to create a public link for a file and share that with anyone who needs Upgrade to 1 Terabyte of storage for under $100/year. (full disclosure! The link to Dropbox is my personal link, if you sign up, I get some extra free storage space. Thank you! :-))
  • And of course there are also: Amazon Drive (5 GB free for Amazon Prime members),  Microsoft OneDrive (5 GB free) and Apple’s iCloud  (5 GB free).
  • Slideshare – Upload slide presentations to share with others. Since these can be embedded on your website, you could easily share community meeting presentations, training presentations and so on. (Example: Making Learning Stick from Polly’s website)

Calendars, etc. – Sharing your library’s schedule with teachers, students and admin can help you with scheduling nightmares. And has the added advantage of showing the world all the great things going on in your library.

  • Google Calendar – Keep track of public and private events. Calendars can be shared with others. Add other teachers’ calendars and the main school calendar to your own calendar to keep track of what’s going in the schools. If individual instructors create calendars with important deadline, students can add those to their own calendars. Calendars can be embedded in other web pages to share your public events with everyone. (Example: Minneapolis Public Schools)
  • Doodle – Simple tool to help you find the best time for an event, meeting, party, etc. Enter dates & times, send invitation to other attendees and everyone can select the dates/times that will work best for them.


  • – Free video conferencing tool for up to 4 people. Very easy to use. No sign-in needed, though you can create a profile and gain greater control over your meeting room.
  • – Platform for giving a presentation to a group. Free plan allows for up to 100 participants.
  • Skype in the Classroom – With Skype, you can make phone calls all over the world. If you have a video cam on your laptop or mobile device, you can have a video conference. Many classrooms use it to connect with partner classrooms around the world, bring in a special speaker or author and what a great way for students to connect one-on-one with experts in the topics they’re interested in. Skype An Author Network for speaker ideas.
  • Google Hangouts – Hangouts are private video chats with your friends. Simply enter the names of friends to invite them to join in. It’s a handy way to have an online meeting with a group of people, or have someone visit your classroom and interact with your students. Try it out with a few friends!
  • YouTube Live – In the past, Hangouts could also be recorded for future viewing. They were called “Hangouts on Air.” As of September 2016, this feature was  moved to YouTube Live.

Collaborative Curation – We’ve included diigo elsewhere, but this time take a look at the collaborative features.

  • diigo – With this popular bookmarking tool it’s a snap to create groups to share resources. Check out this Classroom 2.0 group. Students could use this to gather and share resources for a research projects.
  • Pinterest Boards – Students can use Pinterest to create visual presentations. Have them create a board, pin images related to their topic and write reactions to the image in the notes. Could be used a preparation for a slide deck or even be the complete presentation. Can also be used to collect resources for a research project.

Collaborative Brainstorming

  • Padlet – Online sharing space. Add comments, images and more. Easy to launch a space and contributors can post without needing to login. Export content in various formats like PDF and CSV. Here’s a Cool Tools padlet for you to test out.   (Formerly called WallWisher)
  • TodaysMeet – Such a brilliantly simple tool. Create a “room”, share the URL with students and they can comment without creating an account. Pose a question and give them time to provide feedback. Answers can be saved to a shared document to share with the whole group.


  • Voxer – Voice message boards, log in to a message board, record your reaction or contribution, listen to other’s contributions.
  • AWW App – Turn your screen into a collabortive whiteboard.
  • Popplet – Brainstorm individually or collaboratively. Create a popplet board, add notes, images, videos and more. Link groups of content and ideas together. The free plan gives you 10 popplets. Popplets can be embedded in a webpage to share your ideas with others.
  • Stormboard – Another brainstorming/whiteboard tool that can be used individually or collaboratively. Some useful education templates included. Free educator plan being offered until July 31, 2018.
  • Six Tools for Collaborative Brainstorming – A Comparison Chart

Wikis – Wikis can be used for so many things. Create research guides; students can collaborate on research projects; outlining and drafting research projects; collaborative writing projects; gathering and sharing data from around the world by setting a page to be editable by anyone; student portfolios.

  • WikiSpaces – This is probably the most popular wiki in the K12 world since their free educational wikis are advertising free. And you can easily add student accounts without needing email accounts.
  • PBWorks – PBWorks is also very popular with educators, offering basic accounts for free and the ability to add students without requiring email accounts.

Share your desktop

  • JoinMe – This handy service lets you show your computer desktop to others simply by sending them a link that they’ll open in a web browser. What they’ll see is your desktop. It’s great for showing someone how to use a library search tool or some other online or desktop tool. Click on “start a meeting” to get started.


Lists of tools

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