There are many new communication tools that are available for us to utilize in our own lives and in our practice. That is obvious. But what is awesome is that these tools can be accessed on the go and used to collaborate with others.
I had some real first hand experience doing this at the Leading Learning 2008 conference. The tool of choice at this conference appeared to be Google docs. It seemed that everyone I talked to who used Web 2.0 tools were using Google’s tools. If you’ve been following me on this blog, you will be well aware that I am personally not a fan of Google and I prefer to use the services of other companies that offer the same services as Google. Let’s make one thing clear – it’s not the tools that I dislike, it’s the business practices of the company. Nevertheless, for the sake of communication and collaboration, I bit the bullet and I set up an account with Google so that I could collaborate with others that were using it.
And collaborate I did.
During the various keynote and breakout sessions, I worked with several delegates in Google Docs to collaborate on creating notes during each of the session. I really saw first hand the power of being able to collaborate in real time with anyone anywhere around the world. While I have yet to try this one out yet, I have heard that Google docs currently doesn’t work on an iPhone or iPod Touch. I’m not sure it will even work on my Blackberry. Nevertheless, with an ultra-portable laptop, anyone can access the collaborative tools found on the web and work together to create knowledge and create understanding. Being able, then, to collaborate on the go opens up new possibilities to both teaching professionals and the students they teach.
For Teachers – create shared documents for PD; for students – create shared documents for assignments.
Creating knowledge has always been a collaborative effort. However, for the sake of individualized assessment and evaluation, students have experienced an education system that has valued individualized knowledge regurgitation. Perhaps it’s time to move the conversation beyond the value of collaborative knowledge creation and the tools that allow this to happen to a conversation about how educators can assess and evaluate this type of learning. Where do we start?