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Engaging Students through Online Collaboration

With the help of technology, students in a growing number of classrooms are collaborating with their peers—both in their own schools and around the world—to solve problems and complete projects. This trend has important implications for schools, which are under enormous pressure to engage students in academically challenging ways that are relevant to their lives.

Online collaboration addresses a key 21st-century skill that many companies say they’re looking for in their employees: the ability to work with others to solve common challenges. And there’s evidence to suggest that students are more motivated to do high-quality work when they’re working in groups with (and being judged by) their peers.

With the generous support of ePals, we’ve put together this collection of stories from our archives to help you learn how other schools are leveraging the power of technology to facilitate online communication and collaboration in their classrooms.

—The Editors

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Engaging Students through Online Collaboration

Online collaboration across the globe

Online collaboration can give classroom lessons new meaning.

In its technology implementation framework, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) shares standards that staff and students should learn, including skills to collaborate online with different…

Education in a social world

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Prior to the industrialization of education, the education model was centered around a single-room school house consisting of one teacher with many students throughout many grades. The teacher…

Schools still conflicted over Web 2.0 tools

Web 2.0 tools can help students develop critical 21st century skills.

Many school systems have discovered that Web 2.0 tools such as blogging, social networking, and collaborative authoring software can help create participatory learning environments—but the gap between schools…

Sowing the seeds of creativity

Seedplay CEO Harlan Gaston describes his new web site.

Joaquin Horton, 19, who just graduated from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, credits a new online resource called Seedplay for helping him take his company to the…

eSN Special Report: Empowering the iGeneration

technology is empowering students in ways that earlier generations could not imagine.

Thanks to the democratizing power of technology, which lets anyone with an internet connection tap into resources from all over the globe, it's now easier than ever for…

Program uses smart phones to increase math scores

K-Nect students are more likely to achieve proficiency in Algebra and Algebra II then other students says the report.

Two years ago, public high schools in North Carolina began a pilot project to determine whether smart phones, in conjunction with curriculum resources, could be leveraged to increase…

NYC schools to deploy free eMail, collaboration tools

Parents will now have a way to interact with teachers and school staff in any language. Image copyright ICG.

In what could be a huge sign of change in how students learn, New York City Public Schools has begun implementation of communication and collaboration software from ePals…

New smart phones pave the way for mobile video chats

Apple's latest iPhone has many implications for education.

Apple's iPhone 4, unveiled June 7 and set for release June 24, features a mobile video conferencing application that could increase collaboration among students and make cross-district and…

Will Skype eclipse fee-based videoconferencing?

Educators are forgoing professional video conferencing software for the free, easy-to-use Skype.

With school budgets continuing to shrink, many educators are turning to free or inexpensive software such as Skype, along with the web cameras that now come standard on…

Microsoft, ePals team up on collaborative tools

ePals users will have access to online versions of popular Microsoft software within a secure learning environment.

In a move that could spur more widespread use of online tools for communicating and collaborating within K-12 education, software giant Microsoft Corp. has announced a strategic partnership…

Digital access, collaboration a must for students

Students are voicing their opinions about educational issues such as access to digital media tools and online learning.

In a national survey that reveals K-12 students' use of technology at home and at school, students overwhelmingly agreed that access to digital media tools and the ability…