Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Collaborative Editing through Etherpad


Well, my colleague and I have jumped right in to another initiative using a free web 2.0 tool called Etherpad. (www.etherpad.com) Etherpad is an OUTSTANDING tool for collaborative writing. Essentially what you do is create a 'pad' or document and upload (or start) text that you plan on working with. Etherpad will then give you a unique URL to that page that you can share with potential collaborators. They can chat with you (like instant messaging) and edit your document as you read and edit yourself.

How We're Using It with Sixth Graders.

Our students have been working on a writing assignment based on the J. Peterman Catalog. They've written paragraphs describing items potentially for sale in the catalog. We are then going to the lab and assigning students an editing partner from a different classroom. The students will 'meet' at the Etherpad URL and spend 15 minutes collaborating and editing their work.

We've also invited guest editors to join us by sending them the URLs to the student's work so they can virtually stop by and provide advice and feedback to the students as well as chat with them. Our guest editors include our school librarian, former English teachers, the school principal and technology liaisons that we've met through social networking.

When the editing tasks are complete, the students will be uploading their text onto a central jpeterman wikispace and then creating/scanning and uploading drawings that they've created of the items.

See our results at http://jpetermanhoward@wikispaces.com
Printable materials and handouts for this lesson are available on Scribd at:

Handout for students: http://www.scribd.com/doc/15506446/DescriptiveWritingJPeterman

Organizer/Brainstorming sheet: http://www.scribd.com/share/upload/11952734/2bzikmtc9s7hx7fs1lbp