5 Free Real-Time Collaboration Tools

In education, just about everyone can benefit from real-time collaboration. It improves online teaching. It makes team projects more feasible for students. And it’s a huge benefit for librarians doing remote reference.

There’s a whole lot more out there than Google Docs and Google Hangouts. Here are 5 real-time collaboration tools that may be new to you:


Azendoo is a team project management tool. I’ve yet to meet a student who doesn’t grumble about team projects and the painfulness of trying to coordinate meeting times. Azendoo solves that problem. With Azendoo, students can coordinate and organize tasks across multiple devices; share documents with Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox and Box; comment on each others’ work; and get notifications as team members finish tasks. All for free. This would be equally useful for librarians who need to coordinate projects across multiple libraries or campuses.


Twiddla is a real-time web-based meeting tool that lets you “mark up websites, graphics, and photos, or start brainstorming on a blank canvas.” This is a great alternative for those sometimes deadly boring online meetings in Adobe Connect and the like. No plug-ins. No sign-up. Just click, invite and go.


If your students haven’t already discovered this one, they’re missing out. Synaptop lets students watch videos or lectures together, edit and annotate documents together, give presentations online, and store and share files. Plus, there are loads of apps, music, movies, games, and more.

Synaptop works similarly to Google Hangouts, but without the need for screensharing or downloads. Everything is done via the cloud. Classroom instructors and librarians can use Synaptop for Education for online presentations, webinars, or even online courses. And librarians can co-browse the web with students for remote reference help. This is a tool worth looking at.

Quick Screenshare

From the makers of Screencast-o-matic comes a super easy screenshare tool. Just select the screen you want to share (your screen or their screen), type in your name, and you’ll get a one time link that you can send to the other person. So unbelievably simple. An awesome solution for remote reference!

Mozilla Towtruck

Mozilla Towtruck  is a tool for co-browsing on the web. You can add a Towtruck button to each web page in your site, which allows users to collaborate in real-time on the web site. Voice chat is included. The only downside to Towtruck at this time is that if you can’t co-browse beyond your own web site (yet). But it’s one worth keeping an eye on.


3 thoughts on “5 Free Real-Time Collaboration Tools

  1. I like free stuff just as much as the next guy, but on the other hand, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, as they say… To get away from the limitations of free services, I’ve been using RHUB’s setup and it’s been excellent.

  2. Good work Amanda,
    I use proofhub to manage my team which is spread across 5 states. With the help of it’s proofing tool I get quick feedback on designs and discussions helps me to discuss issues with team regarding project.
    I’d recommend you to try this tool and feel the change.

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