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Monday, July 20, 2015

Three Registration-free Options for Collaboratively Taking Notes

Like many humanities teachers, I use a fair amount of group/ jigsaw reading activities. As a part of those activities I will ask students to share observations and questions with each other in-person as well as in an online document. Over the years I've had students use a variety of tools for sharing their notes with each other. These are the three that I tend to gravitate to right now.

TitanPad is a free tool that allows you to quickly create an online place to collaboratively create documents with one or more partners. You do not need to register in order to use the service. You can chat in real-time while creating a document. Every person contributing to the documents you build is assigned a highlight color so that you can easily track who wrote what in the document. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to use TitanPad.


If you work in a school that uses Google Apps for Education then you can have students sign-in and work on a document together to record observations and questions. But even if you don't have GAFE accounts for students you could still have them use Google Docs. As the teacher you can create a document and share it as "public, anyone with the link can edit." Insert a grid into the document and ask students to take notes within the grid. I have students put their names in the grid squares in which they write. When the activity is complete, switch the sharing setting back to "can view only."

MeetingWords is a free service that is quite similar to TitanPad. MeetingWords can be used for creating an online notepad and chat room. Through MeetingWords you can quickly create an online place to collaboratively create documents with one or more partners. You do not need to register in order to use the service. You can chat in real-time while creating a document. Every person contributing to the documents you build is assigned a highlight color so that you can easily track who wrote what in the document.