We chose a text that we wanted the participants to read and we attached it to a collaborative discussion in Chalkup. We also posted some questions about the reading and vocabulary. Then participants read the article and, as they did, they commented on the text using some cool commenting features. You can attach a comment to a point (that you create) or to some text (that you select) or to an area of the text (that you select). Others can respond to your comments and create their own, all in the same document. The result looked something like this:
I like the idea of this tool to help with close reading and to get initial ideas on a text before discussing it widely in class. Maybe students could read and comment or select text as evidence while they read. Then, after everyone is finished, a face-to-face discussion could follow up. I also like that the ideas of the participants are still there for a closer look once a lesson is over.
Chalkup is a neat and free option for an online version of a class. With collaborative discussions, it moves even higher on my list of tools that are a must try!