1- Create a Facebook page for your class
Since almost everybody today is on Facebook why not capitalize on this and create a classroom community for your class where they can share learning resources and keep updated about important notices from class. This can be done in few easy steps, here is a great visual guide to walk you through the process of setting up a Facebook Page for your class.
2- Google Plus Community for your class
Google Plus has also another important feature called " communities". As a teacher, you can use this feature to create a community for your class and invite your students to join it. Once they become members, they can post links, resources, share documents, comment on each others contributions and many more. Here is a good visual guide to help you create a Google Plus community for your class, check it out HERE.
3- Create a blog/ website/ wiki for your classroom
Another good way to provide your students with a virtual space to collaborate and expand their learning is by setting up a classroom blog or website. There are several educational pluses for giving your students a chance to blog; it can help them establish their own voice, hone their writing skills, and improve their digital literacy skills. Shy students and those who require much time to pull together their thoughts will find in such a space a good opportunity to participate and contribute in classroom discussion.
- Here is a great visual guide to help you set up your classroom blog on Blogger. If you want to host your class blog on another blogging platform other than blogger, here are some good options to choose from.
- Here are some very good platforms to consider when creating a website for your class
- Here is an interesting guide on how to use Wikis with your students
We can not talk about virtual collaborative spaces without mentioning Twitter. Teachers can use the power of connectedness of this social media outlet to hook up students and provide them with a microblogging space where they can share links, resources, updates, polls and many more and only in under 140 characters.
Here is a wonderful visual guide to assist you in setting up a Twitter account for your class.
6- Create a hashtag for your class
Hashtags can also be used to generate discussion around a given topic. For instance, teachers can create a classroom hashtag and share it with students to use when tweeting to their peers. Here is a visual guide on how and why to use hashtags with your students.
Social bookmarking is another powerful way in online collaboration. There are now several web tools that allow users to collectively bookmark web content. The good thing about social bookmarking is that it generates interaction around bookmarked content via the use of tags, comments, and highlights. This could be a good way for students to interact with what their peers share. Pinterest is one of the best free social bookmarking platform I would recommend for teachers and here is a detailed visual guide to help you set you a Pinterest board for your class.