Collaborative Technology Tools in the Classroom

This term I am teaching a new online class for Portland State University for their Instructional Technology Certificate program.  The course topic is collaborative technology tools in the classroom.  Just as my students are reflecting on their work – I too will be documenting our progress and sharing my own thoughts and ideas.

How can we leverage collaborative technology tools to support communication and collaboration in the classroom? How can we plan lessons that effectively engage students and support learning goals?  The factors with the greatest influence on student achievement are instruction, professional learning, collaboration and learning time.

Technology tools that exist to support collaboration can:

  • Facilitate real-time and asynchronous text, voice and video communication.
  • Assist in basic project management activities
  • Support co-creation by enabling groups to showcase learning in real-time or asynchronously.
  • Facilitate consensus building through group discussions and polling
  • Simplify and streamline resource management
  • Enable locate and remote presentation and archiving of completed projects (Deal, 2009).

In this course, students will not only learn how to effectively integrate collaborative technology tools into the classroom but actively participate and apply these principles to their own learning and understanding.  We also want to make sure we are using sound pedagogy when using technology to support learning and aligning our instructional goals with the National Technology Standards for Students (NETS*S).

Portland State uses Desire 2 Learn (D2L) for their learning management system.  This program is fine but too many instructors have only used the text and discussion forum features.  I plan on integrating Portland State’s Google Apps program with D2L.  We will use Google+ hangouts for some webinars, shared documents, email, etc.  Also we will be USING all the collaborative tools each week like Edmodo, Diigo, Twitter, Collaborate and ones that individual students choose to explore (VoiceThread,Prezi, Evernote, etc).

One of the things that I will be playing with is including a weekly podcast lecture using iTunes U.  Last week I set up the iTunes Course Manager and added my written weekly lecture.  What I hope to do during the term and record a weekly podcast related to our week’s theme.  This will give me an opportunity to talk directly to my students, discuss current trends and share new resources.  Students can subscribe to the course and automatically receive the podcasts each week.

Next Week:  Talking about Digital Citizenship when using collaborative technology tools.


Deal, A. (2009). Collaboration tools. Teaching with technology white paper. Retrieved from Carnegie Mellon University website: