| 2009 Short List
Time-to-Adoption: One year or Less
Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years
Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
A growing emphasis on collaboration in education and in the workplace has led to the proliferation of collaborative environments in online spaces designed to support teams working together. Online collaborative environments range from shared document editors like Google Docs (http://docs.google.com), to openly editable websites like wikis, to social networking sites that include profiles and communication tools to add a sense of connectedness and community along with tools for shared work. Virtual worlds such as Second Life are also a part of this category.
Collaborative environments are effective virtual spaces for sharing information. Some platforms such as Facebook allow members to embed user-generated multimedia including video, music, and images along with text into web pages to share with their network of friends. Online collaborative spaces like Ning or PageFlakes can be created easily by anyone interested in a particular topic for others interested in the same subject. Some teachers use online collaborative environments to manage their classrooms and to share resources with other teachers within a media rich environment. A common feature of all of these applications is a workspace that may be shared by students and their teachers with fewer geographic and time limitations than a physical classroom.
Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression
- Students collect news stories online, share them with their network of friends and offer feedback and responses to the news media’s perspective.
- Students synchronously collaborate online to create a mind map of course notes from their computer technology class.
- Teachers expand their professional knowledge through networks of teachers who have a shared affinity for a particular topic. Since social technology knows no geographic boundaries, it brings teachers who may be isolated within their schools in contact with people they might never work with otherwise.
- Voicethread facilitates secure online conversations around a shared document or documents about which students may comment via phone, voice recording, text, video, or uploaded files: http://voicethread.com/
- With MindMeister, users may edit graphic documents such as mind maps online as a group while working from a number of Web portals: http://www.mindmeister.com/
- Classblogmeister is a searchable network of classroom blogs and bloggers, both students and teachers: http://classblogmeister.com/index.php
- Classroom 2.0 uses the Ning online collaboration platform to support teachers interested in integrating Web 2.0 into the classroom: http://www.classroom20.com
For Further Reading
Collaborative Work Environments
(Maintained by David R. Woolley, updated September 2008.) This website includes reviews, articles, and links to services for online collaborative workspaces.
This site hosted by NBC presents news stories in a “collectible” format. Students may keep stories or share them with classmates along with their critical perspectives about the content.
Social Networks in Education
This wiki site hosts an updateable list of social networks online that are used in school environments.