Teacher Tap

Collaborative Workspaces

Although we'll be focusing primarily on wikis, there are many other collaborative tools such as shared documents, concept maps, presentations, whiteboards, and spreadsheets. For instance, Elgg is a collaborative community for educators including blogs, as well as social and collaborative spaces.


  1. Concept Maps - Bubbl, Gliffy, Thinkature
  2. Notebook - Google Notebook
  3. Word Processing and Spreadsheets - Google Docs
  4. Presentations - Google Docs
  5. Overall Services - Think.com, 37 Signals - basics are free

Practical Projects

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Build Consensus
  3. Project Planning
  4. Joint Report
  5. Creative Works


  1. Long Term Storage. When you don't control your web server, it's possible to lose the documents if the service fails. Be sure to have a backup system. Also, be certain to check on copyright issues related to ownership of workspace documents.
  2. Technical Issues. Collaborative spaces can be hampered by slow bandwidth, problems with refreshing screens caused by proxy servers, and other issues. Consider writing in a word processor and copying into the web-based document.
  3. Tracking Use. One of the benefits of collaborative workspaces is the ability to track student work. Check whether the system maintains a history, archives drafts, and traces individual users.
  4. Assignments and Assessments. Provide clear student expectations.
  5. Guidelines. Be certain students understand the philosophy of collaboration and the role of individuals in a collaborative work group.


There are also many shared text editors, website editors, and project collaboration tools. Here are a few examples of web-based tools that facilitate collaboration:

Learn more at High Tech Learning: Collaborative Web.

computer iconBrainstorm!
List the types of activities that involve collaboration. What kinds of tools are needed for these types of activities?



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