The Romance of Collaborative Apps

I have a problem. I fall in love too easily. Every new app that comes my way is a new favorite. Years ago, I fell for Padlet. Now Padlet is a great app, don’t misunderstand,  but it is an anonymous app. A person can post and no one can prove it who was. Needless to say, in a middle school setting or even in upper elementary, chaos often ensued, usually in the form of swear words that could not be removed without deleting the whole board. Now, I love collaboration. I am a school media specialist. My job description includes the line, “Collaborates with teachers to provide instruction.” Teachers are not the only ones in my collaboration village. I have students as young as kindergarten working collaboratively with and without technology. Of course, collaboration is just a fancy word for playing well together, so really kindergarteners have been doing it in the block corner and the housekeeping area for generations. We would all enjoy a little more collaboration of that sort.

This brings me to my latest technology crush, Jamboard. Google sells a very expensive piece of technology that looks and works very much like a Smartboard. That is no front page news. Students have been collaborating on Smartboards for more than a decade at this point. The attractive part about Jamboard is the app that allows students to collaborate using their Google accounts, on Chromebooks and IPads. Jamboard has even more functionality than Padlet, but with an account attached, so you can tell which collaborator is doing which post. I have just begun to explore its uses. We will see if my district will even open it for my students, but it has potential. Will it be a long-term friend or just another flawed crush?File_001

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