I'm sure there are many websites, tools and apps that can be used to collaborate one way or another. I first came across this website www.todaysmeet.com during a workshop and the presenter asked us to send our questions online via this website so that she could answer them when there was opportunity during the presentation or if not, it would be possible for her to respond to those later on. We could also comment on each other's questions or comments. Thus, while the person was presenting, a kind of online discussion was going on along the presentation.
Every now and then I try to use this tool in my classes. To collect sentences regarding a specific grammar structure, to get their ideas about something specific, etc. Just recently, I've decided to use it for a brainstorming activity before a writing task. The writing handout focuses on writing a problem solution paragraph. Thus, the problem, "culture shock"..... first, we worked on the definition and how we feel when we experience culture shock. I asked the students to do some quick online research using their smart devices in-class (mobile phones, pads, tablets etc.). Then, we came up with some key points like: foreign, abroad, away from home, new, different people, different cultures, difficult etc... and then we tried to decide how we felt; frustrated, lonely, nervous, anxious, afraid, sad etc. . While we were discussing these, I noted these key words on the whiteboard. Now, it was time to talk about the solutions. I asked them to go to the website: "www.todaysmeet.com/cultureshockproblemsolution" (this room is now closed because I'm done with the exercise.) Now, here let me explain how it works:
You log in to todaysmeet.com Then, you pick a name for your room (in my case above it was "cultureshockproblemsolution"). If that name is not taken or not in use at that time, you'll have the room. For instance, I'll just try one for this post: todasymeet.com/sharingsfl (screenshot below)
And as you can see, you can select how long you want the room to be open. I'll pick one year for this one and let's see if anything comes up in the meantime. You can let anyone, or people with a password and login to send messages. Then you open the room. https://todaysmeet.com/sharingsfl
Now, everyone can send a message there. Back to my class activity...After we finished about describing and talking about culture shock, it was time to talk about the possible solutions. I asked them to go to the webpage and send their ideas as messages. I have to say they liked it better than writing on paper or the whiteboard. However, I have to admit that sometimes they can get "naughty-ish" :) but that's ok of course (as long as there's no offense or bad language of somesort...anyways). In a couple of minutes, there were lots of ideas. todaysmeet.com also gives you the "teacher tools" option but to use some tools you need to purchase an account. Anyways, while the room is on and running you can get the messages as a text file and what I did was to compile similar ideas together. Then, I photocopied them and brought them back to class. Now, students have ideas, vocabulary and major and minor ideas that they can use in their paragraphs. Please find below some examples:
Of course I didn't edit students' responses. Therefore, even if they want to use some of these ideas, they need to come up with the correct word order, part of speech etc.
I just wanted to share one idea that I tried and worked...
All the best,