As we all know Internet filtering varies from district to district, so there are challenges in sharing how wonderful collaborative documents such as Google Docs are great for students. I still prefer Google Docs over all other tools, but there may be a crunch time when you need an alternative. Today’s post will help you build your personal resource library.
1) Etherpad – (http://etherpad.com/) is a Web 2.0 tool that is on the rise in education. Simply click “create new pad” and you’re off and running. No username or registration required. Similar to a Google Doc, multiple users can type and revise text. Additionally, there is a chat feature for groups to work collaboratively on a subject.
In the classroom setting, teachers need to be aware that once a pad is created, it does not disappear over time. As long as you have the URL, it can be revisited at a later date. There is an infinite undo button if needed, however.
2) Adobe Buzzword – (http://www.adobe.com/acom/buzzword/) is a rather powerful tool for online document writing and collaborating. This interface is image driven and offers a nice interface. Documents can easily be uploaded, editing and even moved into an Adobe Connect meeting room for video conferencing. You will need to verify your email to use, however.
3) Zoho Suite (www.zoho.com) is just like Google Docs with even more features available such as a wiki tool. Zoho will set up student accounts for a teacher through email request, which makes this option perhaps the top choice.
One note on Google Docs. Google Spreadsheet can be made public allowing students to work collaboratively without requiring a username to access. Additionally, the Google Forms can be embedded on a wiki allowing classrooms to collect data easily.