Do you read about all of the fun ways teachers are implementing Google Apps for Education in their classrooms but your district hasn't set up Google accounts for your students yet? LUCKILY all of our K-12 students are given a Google account (the email feature is turned off) which makes it easy for creation and collaboration. However, I worked with a teacher this year who wanted her students to collaborate with a teacher friend of hers who lived in Louisiana. Unfortunately that teacher friend was in a district that had not adopted Google Apps. Therefore, we needed a different tool!
Pirate Pad to the rescue! Students can visit the site and create a "pad" without having to sign into an account. To share their "pad" with a partner or group of peers, all they have to do is click the blue button that reads "Share This Pad" and send the url to their group member(s):
Our students copied and pasted the url into a Google Doc that anyone could edit and we sent that Google Doc to the Louisiana teacher to pull up on her SMARTboard for her students to copy. If you are doing this with your students within your classroom, just have one create the pad and write down the url that their partner can type into any search engine.
Students can add their name in the upper right hand corner and choose their color:
The box in the lower right hand corner serves as their chat box where they can plan and communicate about the work they construct on their pad:
The main white part is where students can construct writing pieces or take notes collaboratively and in real time:
A standard intro text appears when the user first pulls up the pad. This can easily be deleted. As users type, Pirate Pad automatically highlights the text they contribute in the user's chosen color. This really helps the students (and teacher) visually since it shows whether or not each person has evenly contributed to their project!
For this specific lesson we had students create a Reader's Theater script in pairs that was about The Water Cycle. They really did a good job even though they were working together virtually and not face to face!!
You can print the final product; however, the highlight color does not appear in the print out :)