Google Docs; the collaborator
Google is one of the all-around great forces of the online world. Their grasp ranges from the original search engine to youtube; somewhere in the middle of that lies Google docs. This platform is perfect for classroom work of a collaborative nature, both in and out of the classroom. Its main benefits, being an online resource, obviously lie in its uses outside of the classroom. However, it can be used with great efficiency inside the class as well.
Google docs share a common online document with the members who are granted access to it. All members can modify or add on to the document simultaneously. This is wonderful for brainstorming. Typically, one student will be the “secretary” of the team and have to write down notes for the whole team, one idea at a time. In this case, all can add their own ideas by themselves, without stalling a teammate’s progress or flow of ideas. Also, you don’t have to make a mess of your idea sheet by physically erasing bad ideas and leaving stains on your papers.
You can see what is being written instantaneously. Not only that, but you can also see who is writing. There is an option which allows you to associate a color with a teammate so his contributions will be in his color, making it easy to recognize who says what. In this way, it can become a chat room of sorts. You can also draw in the document as you would on a normal sheet, only much cleaner.
Obviously, being an online tool, its main asset lies in its ease of access. Students can all work on the same document from home while remaining in contact one with another. You can share thoughts and ideas in the document at any time, by-passing the hindrance of schedules have on work rate.