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Friday, December 9, 2011

5 Free Tools for Quickly Hosting Online Brainstorming Sessions

There are a lot of great tools online that can be used for collaborating on documents, developing sketches, or constructing outlines. Many of those services require all users to register and keep track of their user names and passwords. There's nothing wrong with that. However, sometimes you just want to get online and start collaborating as quickly as possible. In those cases you might want to try one of the following five services that don't require users to register.

Primary Wall is designed with elementary school students in mind. To use it students just have to go to the url for the wall you've created and click "add a note" or double click on the wall to start writing notes. Students can title their notes and attach their names (first name only please) to a note. Sticky note walls like Primary Wall can be useful for hosting collaborative brainstorming sessions, asking questions, and sorting ideas.

Sync.in provides a place for anyone to start a collaborative document without registering for the service. Once you've started your document it is assigned a unique url that you can share with anyone you want to collaborate with. Sync.in gives each person his or her own text color so that you can keep track of who wrote what. If you want to go back in time to see how the document developed, you can do that with the time slider on Sync.in. Documents on Sync.in can be exported and downloaded to your local computer.

Aww App is a super simple browser-based application for creating drawings. To get started just go to AwwApp.com and click on "start drawing."  To invite people to collaborate on your drawing just send them the link assigned to your drawing board and they can join in the drawing fun. If you would like to use Aww App on your classroom or school website and you have familiarity with editing the code of your site, you can install Aww App for free.

Draw It Live is a nice little website that offers a free space for you to instantly create a collaborative whiteboard to use with anyone you like. To use Draw It Live just go to the site, click the "collaborative whiteboard" link, enter any nickname you want, then start drawing. You can invite people to draw with you by sending them the url assigned to your whiteboard. Draw It Live provides a chat box that you can use to talk to your collaborators about what each of you is doing on the screen.

FlockDraw is a simple service that allows people to quickly and easily collaborate on the creation of a drawing. To use FlockDraw simply visit the site, click the "start drawing" button, and start drawing. To invite other people to draw with you, just send them the url assigned to your drawing board. What's really neat is that anyone who visits the url after the drawing has started will see all of the drawing motions they missed unfold in front of them. You can embed your FlockDraw drawings into a website. When embedded anyone visiting your website will be able to draw with you. To test FlockDraw, you're welcome to play with the drawing I started here.

If you're looking for some brainstorming activity ideas, check out the SlideShare presentation below.
Wake Up Brain!
View more presentations from Ethos3

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