Chapter 4 - Collaborative Tools in Education


Chapter 4 will be focused specifically on collaborative Web 2.0 tools in education. According to the 2010 Horizon Report, a collaborative environment is a space “where the focus is on making it easy to collaborate and work in groups, no matter where the participants may be.” (Johnson, Smith, Levine, & Haywood, 2010) There are many different types of collaborative environments but most can fall into one of two categories: where users can work together to create content or one in which users can share existing content. This chapter will focus specifically on tools where users can create content collaboratively. The Web 2.0 tools discussed in Chapter 4 provide many different functions including allowing users to create single products, create a shared document, or provide a platform for a self-contained learning environment.

Collaborative tools in education are a key to preparing students for future careers because they teach course content, collaborative skills, and 21st century digital literacy skills. In the future, students will need to be able to work with others as a part of their careers. It is up to teachers today to prepare the learners for the future and do so in a way that students are also learning content knowledge. “The value placed on collaboration in the workplace is high, and professionals of all kinds are expected to work across geographic and cultural boundaries more and more frequently. Teachers increasingly recognize the importance of collaboration skills and are finding that online tools to support collaboration provide them and their students with opportunities to work creatively, develop teamwork skills, and tap into the perspectives of people around the world with a wide range of experience and expertise that differs from their own.” (Johnson, Smith, Levine, & Haywood, 2010)
Technology can provide the means for students to collaborate on documents and projects from anywhere- not just sitting near each other in the classroom. One of the goals of the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan is that “states, districts, and others should develop and implement learning resources that exploit the flexibility and power of technology to reach all learners anytime and anywhere.” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010) The collaborative Web 2.0 tools in Chapter 4 allow learners to work together anytime and anywhere.

Collaborative tools can also be a very useful tool for teachers. Many different models of education including Project Based Learning, Differentiated Instruction, and Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics education incorporate an element of collaborative learning and the Web 2.0 tools described in Chapter 4 can assist those learning models. Looking at the graphic to the side, learning should be student centered with multiple influences and available at any time (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). The Web 2.0 tools in Chapter 4 allow teachers, parents, mentors/ coaches, and peers to help the student learn and collaborate with the student anytime, anywhere.

Finally, these Web 2.0 tools can help teachers become better at their craft because they assist teachers in assessing collaborative learning. Each of the tools described in Chapter 4 have ways to assess individual students’ contributions to the group assignment. According to Illinois State Professional Teaching Standard, ISTS 4 Learning Environment: “The competent teacher engages the students in and monitors individual and group-learning activities that help them develop the motivation to learn.” (Section 24.130 The Illinois Professional Teaching Standards beginning July 1, 2013, 2012) These tools will engage students and provide teachers with an easy way to assess student learning in a collaborative environment.


Check out the first communicative tool,
Chapter 4 Introduction
Collaborize Classroom
Google Documents
Chapter 4 Conclusions


Johnson, L., Smith, R., Levine, A., & Haywood, K. (2010). 2010 Horizon Report K-12 Edition. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from

Open clip art (2011). Thumbs [picture]. Retrieved from Open clip art,

Section 24.130 The Illinois Professional Teaching Standards Beginning July 1, 2013. (2012). Retrieved February 22, 2012, from Illinois State Board of Education:

U.S. Department of Education. (2010). National Educational Technology Plan 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2012, from U.S. Department of Education: