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The Top Ten Internet Collaborative Tools

The first two below, email and listservs, are by far the most commonly used, but the remaining options have unique benefits for education and are enjoying increased use as more teachers understand what they offer! An article on the application of these tools for K-12 instruction is available at http://lone-eagles.com/tencollab.htm and was published in the Dec/Jan. 2000 issue of Leading and Learning Magazine ( http://iste.org ). 

NOTE: The terms used to describe online discussion groups vary widely and continue to change. Here's a single resource to review to appreciate the volume of Free Web-based Collaborative Tools available http://www.kmunity.net/Free_Tools_/free_tools_.html Thanks to Casey Hughes for creating such an incredible listing!  Note that search terms are given for each section which will provide you with rich listings of additional tutorials and resources!

    1. Email
    2. Listservs
    3. Newsgroups
    4. BBSes
    5. Web-Conferencing
    6. Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
    7. Muds/Moos
    8. IPhone and Internet Radio
    9. Desktop Video Conferencing
    10. VRML Chat Systems

1. EMAIL - One-to-one private interaction


Workplace to Workspace: Using Email Lists to work together online
By Maureen James and Liz Rykert IDRC 1998

You'll find links to all chapters in the table of contents at the URL above,
but you're advised to  buy the book and support the generous author!)

Electronic Collaboration: A Practical Guide for Educators
An outstanding resource from the U.S. Dept. of Education.

One of the best collections of Internet tutorials.

Reach for the Sky

Free Email accounts available at:
http://www.hotmail.com and http://www.yahoo.com

Netiquette Guidelines:

Good Summary of Netiquette

Disney's Cybernetiquette for Kids!
An educators' favorite.

For additional information search for email+tutorial*  or netiquette

2. LISTSERVS - one-to-many public interaction

Workplace to Workspace; Using Email Lists to work together online
By Maureen James and Liz Rykert IDRC 1998

You'll find links to all chapters in the table of contents at the URL above,
but you're advised to  buy the book and support the generous author!)

Topica Groups http://www.topica.com 
Database of 84,000+ listservs plus tutorials for beginners.
Create your own free listserv discussion group.

Yahoo Groups http://groups.yahoo.com
Offers free listservs (called groups) and more

Netpals Free Listservs http://netpals.lsoft.com
Free listservs with web-based archives.

Reach for the Sky Lesson on Listservs

For additional information search for listservs+tutorial*

Listservs, also known as Mailing Lists

Although not all mailing lists are the same, they are similar enough to consider one set of instructions for joining them.

  1. From the databases of thousands of mailing lists below, select one that you would like to join.
  2. http://alabanza.com/kabacoff/Inter-Links/listserv.html

    http://www.topica.com See also http://groups.yahoo.com 

  3. After you have selected a list, find out the following two things about the list.
    One, the e-mail address of the mailing list, and two, the formal name of the mailing list
  4. Address an e-mail message to the electronic address of the mailing list.
    Leave the subject of the message blank or put some "x"s in it.
  5. In the body of the message, type:
  6. Subscribe [listname] [your first name] [your last name]

    If your name is Jane Doe, and you are subscribing to a mailing list called ElemTcher, then you would type:

    Subscribe ElemTcher Jane Doe

  7. Send the message. After a moment (or perhaps longer) you will receive a message from the list manager computer. The message will welcoming you to the list, describing the types of discussions that take place on the list, and how you should participate. This message will also describe how to unsubscribe from the list if you should decide to leave it. Be sure you keep this information so you can unsubscribe when you want to!

Three Great Mailing Lists

Hilites: Collection of high-quality classroom-based collaborative learning projects.

1. Formal Name: Hilites

Send the message "sub hilites your name" to majordomo@gsn.org

2. Formal Name: Nethappenings keeps you up on new happenings

Send the message "sub NET-HAPPENINGS your name" to listserv@lists.internic.net

3. World Wide Web in Education: WWWEDU has over 1600 members
from 35 countries.
Formal Name: WWWEDU
Send the message "sub WWWEDU your name" to listproc@ready.cpb.org

3. NEWSGROUPS - Site-based one-to-many small group and/or public interaction

Reach for the Sky

Google Groups
http://groups.google.com/googlegroups/deja_announcement.html    See also http://groups.yahoo.com
Create your own free newsgroup!

For additional information search for newsgroups+tutorial*

4. BBSES - Site-based one-to-one private and one-to-many small group and/or public interaction

The Ultimate Bulletin Board

Discovery Channel School BBSES
Now called "conversations" and are found in the student and teacher sections.

Outstanding BBS definitions, examples and more

For additional information search for BBSES+tutorial*

5. WEB-CONFERENCING (Multiple formats) - Graphical Collaborative Environments. Including co-browsers with group chat features.

Free Web-based Collaborative Tools available
Thanks to Casey Hughes for creating such an incredible listing!

Grant Bowman's Listing of Collaborative Tools
http://www.grantbow.com/groupware.html Outstanding!

David Woolley’s Guides and Clearinghouse:

For additional information search for web+conferencing+tutorial*

6. INTERNET RELAY CHAT (IRC) - "Live" public one-to-one and one-to-many interaction

Tutorial:  (Search for IRC+tutorials)

Free Chat for your Web Site




Instant Messenger and Chat Messenger Software


AOL Instant Messenger


Sample Sites: Search for "IRC" OR search for Internet+Relay+Chat

7. MUDS/MOOS - Similar to Chat, but featuring enhanced control and object-oriented
                               features. Interactive fiction and online role-playing/theater capabilities.

Introduction to MUDS and MOOS
Good Introduction by Barry Kort!

Educational Use of MUDS/MOOS

Model Sample Application: The Pueblo Project
Using MUD's and MOOS with elementary Native American students
and others.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Hands-on examples:

A gaming site but a good example of a MUD.

For additional information search for MUDS+tutorials or MOOS+tutorials

8. IPHONE and INTERNET RADIO - Internet telephone and audioconferencing; one-to-one or one-to-many. Also, Internet Radio capabilities.

Real Audio Sites with Software and Tutorials
http://real.com Free software for Internet radio and more.

International Radio Stations

Phone Free
Free software to make free Internet phone calls.

One of the fastest growing companies. Software allows 2 way audio,
co-browsing and swapping control of various computers between users
as a sophisticated mentoring and teaching tool.

Commercial service offering voice over Internet services. Free demo conference calls available.

Audio over Internet software and services.

Internet Radio Resources


For additional information search for Iphone or Internet+radio


9. DESKTOP VIDEO CONFERENCING - "Live" one-to-one or one-to-several video interaction

Yahoo's Broadcast.com
Wide variety of audio and video content

Quicktime video tutorials/software:

Earthcam Web Camera Sites

Leonard’s CAM World
Look out of Internet cameras worldwide!

For additional information search for
desktop video conferencing+tutorial*

10. VRML CHAT SYSTEMS - Using three dimensional 'avatars' for one-to-one
     "live" chat using animated 3 dimensional characters.

VRML Works

The 3D Web Consortium
http://www.vrml.org and

Worldnet 3D chat "worlds."
Free demo software available!

Digispace 3D Chat "worlds"
Another 3D chat world to explore

For additional information search for VRML+tutorial*