Unit Three: What are tools that I can use for the practical application of CSCL in my classroom?
By the completion of this unit you should be able to:
- identify and use a wiki website for collaborative writing
- design a learning experience for students that would use CSCL to support collaborative writing
- evaluate the digital collaborative writing process
So what IS a wiki?
A wiki is a collaborative online document, open to be used and edited by multiple users. Wikis are especially useful because they allow for flexibility of time and location - collaborators do not all have to be in the same place at the same time.
Watch the following video to familiarize yourself with how wikis work: Wikis in Plain English
Reflective Journal #3: After viewing the above video, consider the following questions in a journal response, then discuss face to face with a colleague:
- How is an online wiki better than working together offline? How might working offline be better?
- How could a wiki be used in a classroom?
Practical Wiki for the Classroom: TitanPad
Below is a screen picture of a wiki that real high school students used when writing a collaborative script for a mock news broadcast project. This particular wiki website is called TitanPad, and is unique because it highlights each user's writing in a different color.
This website is extremely conducive to using in writing instruction because it fosters the collaborative writing process, where students can work together to create a writing piece, but each individual is also easily held accountable for their contribution because the work is color-coded by user. Students can also use the chat function on the side to provide suggestions and post ideas with the writing team before actually adding those ideas to the document.
TitanPad wikis also make it easy for teachers to view and assess the writing process because it has a feature called the "Time Slider", which is almost like a video recording of the writing as it was taking place. A teacher can easily rewind through the time slider to observe how students delegated tasks, see the component steps they took in writing, and overall see how the project progress from plans to finished project.
Check out the website for yourself! Click this link to the TitanPad website and then, with a colleague partner, practice using its functions. TitanPad Wiki
Try the following tasks:
- Try writing a collaborative paragraph with your colleague partner. Use the chat function to supply initial ideas, and then notice how once you start creating your document the writing appears in each of your respective colors.
- After writing a paragraph, practice using the Time Slider function. Watch your recorded writing process.
- Click the import/export button, and export your Titanpad document to a Microsoft Word document. This is a good way for students to put their collaborative work into a finished form.
Imagine you are Mrs. Bell from our case study, trying to engage student writers because you know that writing is an important skill for the 21st century. Using what you now know about CSCL, the collaborative writing process and wikis, design a writing assignment, activity or project that draws on what you have learned from this course to help achieve Mrs. Bell's goal (and of course, your own goals!) When you finish designing your assignment, discuss it with a colleague, make revisions, and then try it with students!
You are finished! Use this space to leave comments, feedback, and/or questions relating to the course: CSCL Reflection Page
Link back to CSCL Mini-Course Homepage