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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Three Tools Students Can Use for Collaborative Brainstorming on the Web

One of the first challenges that students face when beginning to work on a group research project is organizing and connecting all of their ideas. These three tools can help students collaboratively organize their ideas on the web.

Realtime Board is a free tool for hosting online, collaborative brainstorming sessions. Realtime Board provides a blank grid on which you can type, draw, and post pictures. You can connect elements on your boards through a simple linking tool. The boards that you create on Realtime Board can be shared publicly or privately. To help you communicate with your collaborators Realtime Board has a chat function built into every board.

Spider Scribe is an online mind map creation service. Spider Scribe can be used individually or be used collaboratively. What jumps out about Spider Scribe is that users can add images, maps, calendars, text notes, and uploaded text files to their mind maps. Users can connect the elements on their mind maps or let them each stand on their own. You can embed your interactive Spider Scribe mind map into your blog or website. If you would like to see how Spider Scribe works, check out Russell Stannard's series of how-to videos or watch this two minute demo. Spider Scribe has a free product for students and educators.

Lucidchart is an easy-to-use tool for creating flowcharts, mindmaps, and graphic organizers. Lucidchart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucidchart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can re-size any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be re-sized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams.

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