Students learn from their teachers during school, but they also learn from each other. Above all, idea sharing allows students to think about opinions other than the ones they have come up with themselves. Integrating brainstorming into your classroom allows students this opportunity to get creative and learn in a new way.
In addition, when students are able to brainstorm collaboratively, they can also learn teamwork. Luckily, there are many tools that allow students to generate ideas and share information in an easy visual way. Below, we’ve listed five different platforms so that you can see which would work best in your situation.
Padlet is an online bulletin board tool for teachers and students. With these boards, students and teachers can collaborate and share ideas in a new, easy-to-read way. After creating your board, it can be shared with as many teachers or students as you wish. Click a place on the board, or drag and drop, to add text, images, videos, drawings, and even files to your Padlet board to begin brainstorming together.
Students can use this for brainstorming assignments or group projects. As they are working collaboratively, they will be able to see updates in real-time. With a variety of layouts and ways to create, Padlet can be used again and again, and still feel fresh.
- Autosaves changes
- Customize your board in a way that is unique to you
- Post files and embed content from Youtube, Google Drive, Spotify, and more
- Five different security options so you have full control over who can view and edit your boards
- Download the app on iOS, Android, Kindle, or Chrome along with integrating with Safari, Chrome, and Firefox
Try Padlet for free until 31 July!
With Padlet, you can get a Teacher Plan for $12/month or $99/year. If your whole institution is interested, check out the School Plan for $1500/year.
Google Docs is an online document platform that can be used by your whole classroom. It can be used for a variety of different reasons, including brainstorming. Because Google Docs can easily be shared with others, it is a go-to option for brainstorming activities, especially if your classroom is already using GSuite.
To begin a collaborative brainstorm, create a shared document for your whole class. Or, if your students are working in groups, have each group make a document and share it with their team members. Now, everyone will be able to open the document and share their ideas at the same time. Similar to the video, you can create columns for students to add to, create a mind map with shapes, or just have students add in their thoughts anywhere on the page. Responses can then be color-coded, organized, and reviewed in whichever way works best.
- Give feedback to students by commenting on any text in the document
- Chat directly inside Google Docs
- Insert text, images, videos, links, and more into the document
- Live updates of changes being made
- See a history of changes along with which students have contributed
GSuite for education is free!
Popplet is a mind mapping tool that can be used to begin the brainstorming process. The great thing about brainstorming with a mind mapping tool is that once you have your ideas listed, they can be easily be organized and added into a map. This way, the relationship between ideas can be seen visually under table way.
With Popplet, creating mind maps (Popplets) is intuitive and easy. Adding squares, called Popples, is the building block for your mind map. Add additional Popples, and child Popples to delve deeper into the topic. When all your ideas are on the map, they can be rearranged and connected with the Popplet Toolbar. Meanwhile, files and images can be uploaded with the toolbar.
- Add collaborators through email or link
- Ability to color-code student’s additions to the map
- Insert images, videos, and links to your board
- Students can export and share work in a variety of ways
- Integrated with iCloud, Prezi, Vimeo and more
Download the Popplet app on iPad or iPhone for $3 or Popplet Lite for free.
For Popplet on the web, the Free Plan includes 10 Popplets. For a classroom subscription, use a Popplet Group. Pricing ranges from $2 to $.50 per subscription, depending on the number of students needed. For more information on Popplet Groups, check out Popplets pricing.
If you like mind mapping specifically, check out these additional 5 mind mapping tools.
Webjets is a collaborative, creative desktop. Similar to Padlet, you have a canvas that houses your ideas and information. Each piece of information on your canvas is a “card” Anything can be dragged, dropped, or uploaded onto your canvas. Next, these cards can be rearranged and grouped in a way that works best, like creating a mind map.
To brainstorm as a class, or to have students work together, Webjets supports real-time collaboration by inviting people to your board through email. Each user can save many different projects on their profile so that they can save the information or work on different projects in the same place at the same time.
- Use Webjets for brainstorming, task management, or research
- Real-time updates across all devices
- Bookmark webpages to add to your Webjet canvas later
- Present Webjet canvases in an easy interactive way
- Publish canvases as a webpage
Webjets has a Free Plan for educators and students. To access, sign up and request the Education account.
On the other hand, Webjets can be used for free for up to 2 collaborators and 200 cards. For more unlimited capabilities, try out the Professional Plan for $7/month.
Stormboard helps to brainstorm by being a mix between a whiteboard and a task management platform. Let’s say, your students are working on a group project together. They can begin by brainstorming different ideas for their project and the steps to complete it by adding sticky notes or drawing on their board. After the brainstorming is complete, each classmate can be assigned to a task. This way progress can be kept track of, and everyone can see the flow of the project.
As they brainstorm collaboratively, students are able to see their classmates updates in real-time. They can add in text, files, images, and videos into their board. Any student can use Stormboard on the web. No matter which device they are using there is no software to install.
- Library of templates to help begin and organize your sessions
- Infinite Canvas
- Export to PDF, Word, PowerPoint, or Excel
- Instant reports to turn any board into a presentation
- Integrated with Microsoft, Google, Box, and more
Stormboard is offering educators and students its software for free until 30 June 2021.
Stormboard’s Personal Plan is free for you and 5 other team members. For more features, there is a Business Plan at $10/month, or the Enterprise Plan at $17/month. Each of these paid plans come with a 30-day free trial.
Wakelet will help you brainstorm by using the web. Any information, from articles to videos to podcasts, that are found on the web can be bookmarked and organized in your Wakelet collection. Information can be seen in an informative and engaging visual way, instead of just text and lists of links. In addition, your own notes, images, or PDFs can be added in to give more context to your collection.
All of this can be done collaboratively with other teachers or students by inviting them to your collection. Together, students can create collections by brainstorming and adding in their own information to be organized later. Wakelet supports real-time collaboration which makes working together that much easier.
- Integrated with Flipgrid, Goole Classroom, Screencastify, and more
- React and comment on pieces in the collection
- Download and share collections as PDFs
- Make collections public, private, or unlisted
- Create sub-collections to further organize ideas
Wakelet is free to use for anyone!
Which platform is best for my students and I?
These tools can help bring your students together during your lessons in a whole new way, whether your students are in person or online. To help you choose the best application for your use case, we’ve highlighted the best use cases for each tool listed:
- Padlet – best if you are looking for an all-in-one, feature-packed collaborative board.
- Google Docs – best if you are a GSuite user and brainstorming sporadically.
- Popplet – best if you are looking for an easy beginner mind mapping tool.
- Webjets – best if you are looking for a free, interactive web-based canvas.
- Stormboard – best if you are looking to take brainstorming to the next level with task management.
- Wakelet – best if you are looking to brainstorm for any kind of web content.
Thanks for reading through these five different collaborative brainstorming tools. If you have a favorite that wasn’t mentioned, let us know in the comments below!