Smartphones, tablets and other technology tools have tons of potential to help students learn–if they’re used properly. And when properly implemented, those tools can help students build the collaboration skills they need to reach success in school and the workforce.

Most 21st-century learning models include collaboration as a necessary educational outcome. Collaboration skills are part of the Partnership for 21st Century Education’s 4Cs, a framework developed with educator input and designed to outline skills and knowledge students need in today’s global and connected society.

And collaboration isn’t simply a necessary classroom skill. Teamwork and collaboration are important abilities employers say they want in their current and future employees.

(Next page: 7 engaging collaboration tools)

Technology can support students as they develop their collaboration skills. Here are 7 tools to help students build their collaboration skills in the classroom:

1. Mural is an interactive message board tool that lets users add sticky notes to jot down ideas and organize thoughts and arrange ideas spatially. It supports multiple users with a simple invitation functionality, and it is compatible with YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, Evernote and Google Drive.

2. Google: Between Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts, students can work together on documents and presentations, or meet up online to discuss homework assignments or group projects.

3. Scoot & Doodle offers engaging environments where passion and learning go hand-in-hand. On Scoot & Doodle on Hangouts, as many as 10 students work in virtual teams to solve problems and brainstorm solutions to educational content uploaded by teachers.

4. Whyville is a virtual world where children ages 8 to 15 play, explore, create and learn together. From solving math puzzles to protecting coral reefs, and from programming robots to running virtual businesses, Whyville’s citizens (known as Whyvillians) collaborate, compete and share.

5. Padlet gives users a virtual blank “wall” to share video, documents, photos and more. Padlets can be edited and organized, and security and access are easily controlled.

6. CollaborizeClassroom is a free tool students and teachers can use for inquiry-based discussions. Each lesson has a unique URL and can be shared in multiple ways.

7. FoldingStory is a group storytelling game that lets students collaborate on assignments together or contribute to existing stories on the site.

Laura Ascione
About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura