This is a summary of week 2 of the Coursera MOOC – Powerful tools for teaching & learning: Web 2.0 tools. This week’s focus was collaboration (look up last week’s post to review the skill-lens used by the course to analyse and categorise Web 2.0 tools).
Once you’ve identified your instructional task or issue for collaboration, the next step is to discover the nature of the collaboration problem. The course facilitators presented the categories of collaboration needs in the form of a continuum.
project management <-> co-creation <-> resource management
The continuum shows three forms of collaborative tasks. It’s also a way to group web 2.0 collaboration tools.
Project management (setting up projects and streamlining work)
- Assign a day: a calendar that can be shared with Ss and their parents about latest assignemetns & due dates.
- Doodle: an easy way to set up group meetings dynamically.
- Todoist: allows you to manage tasks and then go about collaborating on setting and working on these tasks.
Co-creation (collaborating to create, edit & develop ideas)
- Conceptboard: develop concepts for a group assignment.
- Google drive: real time collaborative eding on documents, presentations and spreadsheets. A video example of peer-collaboration through Google documents.
- Mindomo: allows for collaborative brainstorming.
Resource management (providing access to a communal resource page)
- Symbaloo: a social bookmarking tool to share links
- Dropbox: a shared storage space for documents and media
- Wikidot: allows users to create real time editing space for both text and multimedia files
Some of these collaboration tools also serve as communication tools and indeed many of the tools suggested in this course could be used for multiple instructional issues. These include tools such as Google Docs, De.li.cious, Google Groups, Cacoo, PB works Wiki, Diigo and Creately. It’s critical to recognize the type or nature of the instructional task in order to choose the best possible tool for solving an instructional issue. Here are some more that were discussed:
- Wikisend: A file sharing platform with a 100 MB limit. It doesn’t require you to sign up
- Meeting Words: easy to use and doesn’t require registration. Ss can work collaboratively on documents. Meeting words is a web based text editing tool that allows up to 32 people to edit simultaneously but no functionality for images or charts. Individual contributions to a project can be tracked through colour coding of user comments and a time slider. However, the tool requires access at least on a weekly basis or you will lose your work – you can however export in a variety of forms. Here’s an example. Google docs may be a better alternative because it has far richer features.
- Cosketch: visually sketch ideas with the ability to document/track individual collaboration on an online whiteboard.
- Stormboard: online brainstorming and collaboration for group projects with the ability to document/track individual collaboration. Add sticky notes to a board which can have images, videos, documents or sketches. Users can vote to prioritize ideas as well as commenting on them. The final product can be exported in various forms. Here’s an example.
- PBWorks: A binder where several people can contribute and edit content. It keeps track of all user activities and provides a mechanism for peer-feedback.
- Creately: Collaboratively design flowcharts, idea maps and diagrams. Here’s an example.
The tools for exploration this week include:
- Doodle (scheduling meetings collaboratively)
- Trello (collaborating on and organizing tasks)
- Zoho Docs (creating, storing and editing documents)
- Wikispaces (communicating with Ss through a virtual classroom workspace for writing projects)
- Mega (storing files on the cloud)
- Wunderlist (organizing a shared list of tasks)
- Papaly (sharing bookmarks)
- MindMeister (brainstorming using mind maps)
- Taskworld (tracking colleagues’ tasks and giving them performance feedback)
- PrimaryPad (word processing collaboratively on the cloud)
Despite the annoyingly cheerful music, this video has some insights on meeting the challenges of facilitating online collaboration between Ss through one of the principles – developing reciprocity and cooperation among Ss – in a framework of seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education by Chickering and Gamsom.
This week’s reading
- Teacher’s Guide to Online Collaboration and Global Projects PDF (a really well-designed booklet)
- US Dept. of Education’s Teacher’s Guide to International Collaboration on the Internet (has a separate section on EFL teaching)
Lots of tools this week that I’d never heard of before but what I really appreciate are the simple frameworks such as the collaboration continuum that can make edtech accessible to Ts in a more manageable way.
Image attribution: Flickr | LT – Google Drive- Collaboration by Matt Cornock | CC by 2.0