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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

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    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

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        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

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            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

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                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.

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                      Ciara Conlon

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

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                      Last Updated on January 24, 2020

                      10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                      10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                      Habits are behaviors and patterns that you showcase by default. They enable you to carry out crucial activities like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting prepared for work.

                      Interestingly, you follow this routine every day without considering them. Your unconscious habits create room for your brain to perform more advanced activities like problem-solving and choosing what book to read.

                      Everyone has habits, and several of those habits are activated every day. I would classify them into three groups:

                      • The first category includes the habits that you hardly notice as they have become a major part of your life- such as brushing teeth or wearing clothes.
                      • The second category comprises good habits to have to be more successful-like eating healthily, exercising your body and reading books.
                      • The last group consists of those habits that are harmful-like procrastinating, smoking or overeating.

                      Habits are fundamental to becoming successful in life — or probably ending up a failure. Yet, as significant as habits are, some lack the knowledge of their capabilities.

                      Habits are default activities that you engage in without giving an afterthought. They are automatic behavioral or mental activities. They help you carry out some actions without exerting too much energy. They simplify your life.

                      Several people aspire to break bad habits. For instance, some people diet to stop overeating. They exercise to reduce obesity. Habits can hinder or impact your performance and productivity.

                      That’s why I would share 10 good habits to have to be more successful in life.

                      1. Begin Your Day with Meditation

                      I recommend mindful meditation early in the morning. This practice helps you to be in the present moment. Consequently, it enables you to be mindful of challenging situations during the day.

                      Different stressors may trigger as you go through the day; meditation helps you to remain calm before taking on the challenges.

                      Personally, it helps me to devise strategies and think about ideas. Meditation is a good habit to have if you want to be connected to what’s significant in your life.

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                      2. Be Grateful for What You Have

                      Sometimes, you waste time thinking of what’s not enough. You become immersed in those daunting challenges. However, challenges justify the presence of hope. When you have life, you have expectations. You will be free from challenges when you are six feet under. The only strategy you have to stop focusing on your problems is to focus on what you have.

                      Gratitude is a time-tested pathway to success, health, and happiness. It redirects your focus to what you have from what you lack. Here’s what James Clear does every day,[1]

                      “I say one thing I’m grateful for each day when I sit down to eat dinner.”

                      3. Smile

                      Can you pause and smile before you continue reading this?

                      Now here is what just happened based on research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science; you set a pace for living a happier life when you smile. A genuine smile or what’s called a Duchenne smile is a good habit to have if you want to find spiritual, emotional and mental peace of mind.[2]

                      Smiling induces the release of molecules that function towards fighting stress. The physiological state of your body determines the state of your mind. When you slouch or frown, your mind takes cues relating to unhappiness and depression. But, once you adjust yourself by putting up a smile, you begin to feel a new level of excitement and vibrancy.

                      Can you smile again?

                      4. Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

                      Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good habit to have and forms a crucial part of your life. Nevertheless, about 31 million Americans skip their breakfast each day.[3]

                      If you are fed up hearing that breakfast is a crucial component of your day, you are only fighting the truth. If you want to become more successful, you need to ‘break your fast’ with healthy foods every morning.

                      This habit is not difficult to form if you usually rush out the door every single morning. You can wake up earlier to fix yourself a meal so you don’t break down during the day.

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                      Get inspired by these 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time.

                      5. Exercise Daily

                      One of the good habits to have is to exercise your body and muscles every day. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift a weight. You only need to engage in less strenuous activities that oxygenate your blood and inject endorphins in your body.

                      Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, classified exercise as a good habit to maximize his already jam-packed schedule.[4] He said,

                      ‘I wake up by 5, meditate for 30 minutes, seven-minute workout times three, make coffee, and check-in.’

                      He said on Product Hunt that he follows this routine every day as it gives him a steady-state that empowers him to be more productive.

                      6. Manage Your Time as You Manage Your Finance

                      Another good habit is the act of managing your time effectively. This goes a long way to impact your achievement.

                      Time management is what separates the successful from the rest of the world as we all possess the same amount of time. How you leverage time determines your potential to succeed in life.

                      So how do you manage your time effectively?

                      Here’s Jack Dorsey’s recommendation in one of the Techonomy events;

                      “I accomplish effective time management by theming my days and practicing self-discipline. These themes help me handle distractions and interactions. If a request or task does not align with the theme for that day, I don’t do it. This sets a cadence for everyone in the company to deliver and evaluate their progress”.

                      And this is Dorsey’s weekly theme:[5]

                      • Monday – Management
                      • Tuesdays – Product
                      • Wednesday – Marketing and growth
                      • Thursdays – Developers and partnerships
                      • Fridays – Culture and recruiting
                      • Saturdays – Taking off
                      • Sundays – Reflection, feedback, strategy, and preparing for Monday

                      No wonder he was able to run two companies when others were struggling with one job.

                      7. Set Daily Goals with Intentions

                      Everyone has goals. It may relate to business or personal life. The truth is, we’re all tending towards a particular direction or another. Nevertheless, while long-term goals can offer you direction, it’s your daily goals that you establish that help you develop short-term goals that are essential for your success.

                      Long-term goals may not give you the motivation you need to keep on. But when you implement your short-term milestones daily, you become fired up, and you can overcome the challenges that come with taking on bigger tasks.

                      Here’s the main truth:Successful people don’t set goals without establishing their intentions. According to Jennifer Cohen of Forbes,[6]

                      “What helps you to achieve your desired expectation is ensuring intentions accompany your daily goals.”

                      Be intentional about your daily goals!

                      8. Seek Inspiration

                      It is usually difficult to be inspired for a considerable length of time. Sometimes, you become discouraged and feel like giving up on your goals when things are not working out as intended.

                      A practical approach to stay on top of the situation is to inspire yourself each day. When you wake up in the morning after meditation, watch some motivational videos, and let the story of great leaders inspire you.

                      Establish what Anthony Robbins called the ‘hour of power.’ Determine how many minutes you spend but make it count. Inspiration is the fuel for achievement because when you can conceive it in your mind, you can accomplish it.

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                      Michal Solowow, an investor and the founder of Mitex, a construction company puts it this way,[7]

                      “The problems I encounter in everyday life motivates me to find solutions. This is a self-propelling mechanism. becoming a billionaire was never a motivating factor.”

                      9. Save Steadily, Invest with All Prudence

                      I can exhaust the good habits to have without talking about saving and investing. Most times, you overlook the significance of saving for the future when you are living in your present moment. According to CNBC, a $1000 emergency will propel several Americans into debt.[8]

                      However, it is not enough to save, and you must invest your fund and be wise with it. If you pay attention to this now, you will set yourself for a life of success in the future. Ensure you save at least six months in your emergency account so you can be prepared for any future emergency.

                      10. Budget and Track Your Spendings

                      Benjamin Franklin warned of taking the precaution of little expenses. He said,

                      “A small leak sinks a great ship.”

                      It is easy to discard little expenses, but the truth is they always add up. This happens when you fail to budget.

                      Budgeting is a good habit to have, which can impact your financial life significantly. The money you spend on extravagant lifestyles can be saved and invested in your future.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Endeavor to cultivate these good habits to have to become more successful as you journey through life. The quicker you cultivate them, the faster you achieve your goals.

                      More About Habits

                      Featured photo credit: Andrijana Bozic via unsplash.com

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