Advertising
Advertising

10 of the Best Tools for Collaborative Learning

10 of the Best Tools for Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is a type of learning where a group of people pool their resources and attempt to learn together. Even if the “group” is just two people working together, collaborative strategies can help to stimulate interesting debate and allow learners to discover a new perspective on material. Many educators are now turning to collaborative learning strategies to help their students to learn. Here are 10 of the best collaborative learning tools available on the web today.

1. Cardkiwi

Cardkiwi

    Cardkiwi is an online flashcard app which uses active recall and spaced repetition techniques to help users to revise anything they want. The app lets a user create their own double sided flashcards, and it then gives them the chance to rate how well they know the material on each individual card. The app uses a special algorithm to ensure that users are then shown the cards which they do not understand more often. Users are able to share their set of cards with people on the other side of the world if they want, and flashcards can even be assigned to certain editions of certain books, so that other users know which materials are relevant to them.

    2. TED Talks

    Advertising

    TED Talks

      One of the best ways to stimulate student engagement is for them to go to conferences where professional speakers discuss major ideas. Whilst this isn’t always feasible, TED Talks offers the next best thing. On the TED Talks website, it is possible to access thousands of academic talks for free, which can be shown to students in class. The website also encourages users to create their own TED-style talks for others. Topics range from social topics to science topics, and everything in between.

      3. Prezi

      Prezi

        Prezi is one of the coolest tools available for giving presentations and a free version is available for people who do not mind all of their presentations being made public. The easy-to-pick up user interface allows users to make fast-paced, fun and stylish presentations which are a little different from those which can be made with run of the mill presentation software. Those who are making presentations can share access to their works-in-progress, allowing them to be edited by a group. There are already thousands of user-created presentations shared online.

        4. Skype in Education

        Advertising

        Skype in the Classroom

          This is a platform which has been designed by the team at Skype to help educators to capitalize on the possibilities that video conferencing can offer to schools. Teachers can use the platform to connect with experts from across the globe who can lead personal sessions for pupils. It is also possible to connect with different classroom groups from around the world, in order to build international learning relationships.

          5. Think Binder

          ThinkBinder

            Think Binder is a great way of organizing a study group online. With text chat and video chat capabilities, it allows people to interact as they would in a traditional study group, but without them having to be at the same physical location. There is cloud storage space and bookmarking facilities for resources which are relevant to the group, and an interactive whiteboard section for those who want to put their ideas down in a visually appealing way.

            6. Simple surface

            Advertising

            Simple Surface

              Simple Surface is an interactive whiteboard tool which allows you to create and link your ideas very easily. Whilst the tool is largely text based (as a real whiteboard is) the simplicity can be a huge help for those who are trying to create simple, workable lists. To boost the visual aspects of the tool, users can color-coordinate things in the list. “Surfaces” can then be shared with other users to allow collaborative editing.

              7. Google Docs

              Google Docs

                This Google feature allows users to create, share and co-edit ordinary documents from the comfort of their own homes. As all documents are shared in a cloud space which can be accessed from anywhere, pupils will no longer be able to use tired old technological excuses!

                8. Mind42

                Advertising

                MInd42

                  Mind42 is a mind mapping tool similar to Simple Surface, but it is better for people who want to flesh out their ideas using more complicated mind maps. Users can put images into their mind maps, along with text notes which offer deeper explanations. Notes can be expanded and collapsed, to help the map to look neater or more complicated as required. Map editors can work together on a map at the same time, and maps can be shared with the public.

                  9. Storybird

                  Storybird

                    Storybird is a wonderful online tool which is designed to make storytelling and understanding literature more fun for younger children. Storybird lets users add descriptive text to existing artwork, in order to create an online storybook for themselves. Teachers can create special logins so that young children do not need their own email address.

                    10. Edmodo

                    Edmodo

                      Edmodo is like Facebook for learners. Whilst it looks like a social media site, the tool is actually a great way for teachers to share links, calendars and assignments with pupils, without having to worry about overstepping any boundaries. Students can also communicate with each other on the site.

                      All of these great learning tools can enhance the collaborative learning experience for the user, so go ahead and try one out and please let us know how it goes.

                      More by this author

                      Ciara Conlon

                      Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

                      7 Characteristics of Procrastination (And How to Fight Them) This Is Why Taking Action Creates Success Less Is More: How to Become Productive with Less 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude Why Failure Can Take You One Step Closer to Success

                      Trending in Productivity

                      1 20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020 2 50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong 4 How to Master Delayed Gratification to Control Your Impulses 5 The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on November 3, 2020

                      20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                      20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                      Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

                      There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

                      This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

                      What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

                      Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

                      • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
                      • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
                      • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

                      1. Todoist

                        Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                        Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                        If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                        Download: Todoist

                        2. 1Password

                          You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                          1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                          You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                          Download: 1Password

                          3. Bear

                            Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                            It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

                            Advertising

                            Download: Bear

                            4. Hazel

                              Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                              For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                              Download: noodlesoft

                              5. Alfred

                                Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                                For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                                It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                                Download: Alfred

                                6. TextExpander

                                  TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                                  For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                                  An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                                  Download: TextExpander

                                  7. Backblaze

                                    If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                                    Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

                                    Advertising

                                    Download: Backblaze

                                    8. Keyboard Maestro

                                      Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                                      Download: Keyboard Maestro

                                      9. Snagit

                                        There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                        Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                        10. Bartender

                                          Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                          If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                          Download: Bartender

                                          11. Otter

                                          Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                          Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                          Download: Otter

                                          12. Flux

                                            Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                            Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                                            Download: Flux

                                            Advertising

                                            13. PDFpen

                                            If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                            PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                            Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                            14. OmniFocus

                                              OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                              It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                              A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                              Download: OmniFocus

                                              15. Franz

                                                It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                                Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                                Download: Franz

                                                16. MindNode

                                                  If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                                  The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                                  Download: MindNode

                                                  17. Focus

                                                    The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                                    Advertising

                                                    This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                                    Download: Focus

                                                    18. CleanMyMac

                                                      Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                                      Download: CleanMyMac

                                                      19. Grammarly

                                                        A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                        This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                        A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                        Download: Grammarly

                                                        Focus To Do

                                                          Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                                          There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                                          Download: Focus To Do

                                                          The Bottom Line

                                                          These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                          Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                          More to Boost Productivity

                                                          Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

                                                          Read Next