The phenomenon of Wikipedia has led to the development of other collaboration tools online. As Google searchers, I am sure you have come across Wikipedia entries with almost all of your findings. If not, check out this Wikipedia entry for Web 2.0. Wikipedia is an open-source encyclopedia found online that allows members to contribute and edit content. A brief overview of Wikipedia is provided in this video created by the North Carolina State University Libraries.

 

There are many additional Web 2.0 tools, as well as web-based applications available that allow users to share information and collaborate on various projects online. As a parent you may find these tools extremely helpful in your daily lives. Do you belong to a parent group or social committee? These tools can easily streamline your communication and participation with all social groups and group members. Goodbye email attachments and thumb drives! Members have the ability to contribute information virtually, and retrieve everyone's work with a few simple clicks. Here are a few of the common collaboration tools that we will explore this week.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free web-based resource created by Google to offer users the ability to save documents, worksheets, and presentations safely and securely. Your work can be uploaded easily to Google Docs, shared and edited by users who have access to your account. To see how easy it is to have friends or colleagues contribute content, view this humorous video entitled Google Docs: A Love Letter.

Thing 11: Create your own Google Docs account and begin to upload a document you have created. Now try editing the document. Do you find it easy to add/edit information to your document? Would this tool be a useful and practical way of sharing information with colleagues and friends? Blog about your discoveries and how you can use collaboration tools effectively.

Zoho Office

Zoho provides web-based applications designed for business, productivity and collaboration purposes. Gone are the times when one had to spend money and time learning the ins and outs of many different types of software for their own personal or business needs. Zoho provides a variety of low cost applications on their website, eliminating the need for constant upgrades and maintenance. Here is more of what Zoho Office can offer its users.

Read more about Zoho on the New York Times Bits Blog.

Dropbox

Dropbox is another very popular file-sharing program that alows users to sync their files online over multiple technologies. This software may come in handy as the total number of devices in your life continues to grow. Mashable provides a list of ways to use Dropbox that might be unexpected.

Wikis

Wikipedia, which was mentioned at the top of this post, is probably the world's most popular wiki.

A wiki is a website that allows users to easily add, edit, and delete content - essentially pooling their knowledge together. The term comes from the Hawaiian phrase, "wiki wiki," which refers to something fast.

Wikis are being used today in many venues both professionally and personally. Did you know that your child may be using wikis in their classroom? Some of the reasons wikis are an asset to you as a 21st Century Parent are as follows:

  • Members can add, edit, and delete content on the website
  • Creators can make wikis private or public
  • Wikis are easy to use and there is no need for members to know HTML, a fancy markup language for web pages

There are many different formats in which you can create a wiki. Here are some of the major players for educational purposes.


Find out the benefits of using PBworks in a classroom or library.

 

Another popular wiki service, Wikispaces  claims to be the easiest to use. The Library has even utilized Wikispaces for children's programs.

 

Thing 12 - Learn more about wikis and how students and teachers are using them. Read the below articles and visit some of the listed wikis. Blog about your findings. Do you think wikis can be an asset to teaching and learning? 

TeachersFirst: Wiki Walk-Through - What is a wiki and how they can be used in the classroom.

Darien Patch - Article about the increase of technology in the classroom.

Darien Parent Wiki - This wiki was created to provide parents with information on the core content areas for grades K-5.

Teaching with Thinking and Technology - This wiki explores the uses of wikis in education. 

Comments

This could be a great tool

This could be a great tool for students to get feedback on papers or projects they are working on. There have been projects that my daughter is working on, where I know this would be helpful. If she was able to share what she had "in progress" for an essay or a research paper, she could get instant feedback from her teacher or tutor to improve the outcome.

I'll have to ask my high

I'll have to ask my high schooler if they use Google Docs for collaborative projects. What a great tool!