Thursday, February 12, 2009

And Yet Another (basic) Collaboration Tool...

If you want a very simple approach to documenting collaborative learning consider ClassChatter The user interface is primitive by current standards, but the tools are easy to use, secure, and private. It comes with a free edition, which “… offers free blogging and web tools for teachers at all levels of education.” Personal blogs created by students in ClassChatter are “… viewable to the entire class or just the teacher (at your option), and visitors can make posts or leave comments as well.” There is also a space for group work “… where students and teachers can share ideas while discussing a common topic.”

Assignment Blogs allow:
….teachers to post assignments for the class and later grade them in a private secure setting. Students can work on assignments over multiple online sessions and then submit them when they are finished. Teachers can subsequently grade the assignment, offer guidance or comments, or return the assignment to the student for further work.

cMail is an e-mail-like option which provides an internal means of exchanging messages without the need for e-mail addresses, similar to features in PBWiki and Wikispaces. While the creator of ClassChatter characterizes it as a site for protected blogging, it seems to me to be more similar to use of a private wiki, offering the same basic features and the advantage of being easier to setup a class workspace.

ClassChatterLive ( is a considerably more sophisticated version, with upgraded features, such as the ability to upload and distributed podcasts, electronic drop boxes, and permanent archiving. ClassChatterLive is available for use by all teachers in a school for a single price, $150/year; an individual account can be purchased for a fee of $30/year.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another Collaboration Tool

Ive been working on a manuscript for several weeks and have reached a point where I need to find an easy and free way for contributors to share there stories and/or case studies about using free Web 2.0 tools to support teaching and learning online. Show Document, mentioned here previously, works pretty well for synchronous editing, and allows edited files to be downloaded in PDF format, using a GUI similar to WiZiQ's tools, but doesn't support file storage for distributing documents for asynch operations. After a short search, I found, a file storage operation, that has a free "lite" version, which allows file storage for asynchronous use by invited "editors and" "viewers." The file owner sets the access privilege when collaborators are invited. This seems to fit my needs rather well. During the file upload process I can capture the embed code for a widget that allows readers to access the file in any application that accepts the HTML code (see below). offers some additional collaborative features, including a disucssion board.

Rollover the file icon to see the upload date, capture a file link, download , or preview the file contents, or use the Menu tab for other options. Try it and give me your feedback as comments to this post. The sample file contains a list of Web 2.0 tools that are discussed in my manuscript. If you use any of these tools and would like to contribute a vignette or case study about how you are using them to support classroom instruction or eLearning, please contact me through