One tool I use in my language classroom quite a bit is a collaborative text editor / word processor. For years, I have even using TitanPad as my main text editor since students don’t have to register and yet I can password protect it. One thing that is missing from TitanPad and other collaborative writing platforms is the ability to audio chat as well as text chat. Also, with the advent of mobile devices, Adobe Flash sites have become an issue for me, so I am always on the lookout for sites that use HTML5 so mobile users can us it.
One such site is Notepad. It doesn’t require any registration and doesn’t have any ads. Users can invite others to join in and collaborate on a document using a unique URL. Users on a browser such as FireFox, Chrome, or Opera can also give permission to use the microphone to audio chat. It is super simple to use and could be an effective tool in the language classroom. Here is how it works:
- Go to Notepad and a new note will appear on the screen.
- At this point, users can start typing a message on the notepad. It doesn’t allow for any formatting, but that can also be an advantage as students won’t be tempted to fiddle with the settings.
- On the right hand side is a set of blue buttons:
- Clicking on the top button allows users to change their name (‘Update your name’), add a profile picture (‘Change avatar’), and pick a colour to use so others viewing will know who is where on the screen (‘Pick a profile color’). You can also get help, give feedback to the website owner, or end the notepad (creator only).
- Clicking on the second button will give you a unique URL that you can share with others. Remember, anyone with the link can see and edit the document. Be careful where you share it.
- Clicking on the third button from the top will prompt the browser to ask you for access to your microphone. This starts the audio chat. Make sure to click on the appropriate button on your browser to give it access.
- Clicking on the bottom button will open the text chat window.
- When others are online, you will see where their mouse cursor is with a small hand and their profile name and colour. If you click anywhere, a circle will appear in your profile colour that everyone can see.