New View on Collaboration

So, yesterday, I read the article “Watch This Author Use A Google Document To Write And Edit A Book In Real-Time“ and headed over to see what it was all about.  It was very cool and lived up to the expectations.  Silvia Hartmann was writing a book titled “The Dragon Lords” and you could watch it happen on your screen.

It was created in a Google Document here.

Admittedly, this was really taking a chance but it was all there.  Every time I went to it though, there were too many people online to get the full features but I got enough to get the idea.

What an interesting concept!  It makes you wonder about the wisdom of walled gardens.  This would be an interesting activity for students but if they’re locked behind a firewall requiring passwords/logins to their work, it just wouldn’t happen.

But imagine the opportunities for education!

Imagine the following messages going out to one’s PLN.

  • “I’m writing a lesson plan on photosynthesis online here.  If you are teaching the same thing or are an expert, please help me out.”
  • “I have an essay due next week and I need some insights on horse training.  Can anyone help me here?”
  • “I’m writing a blog post on a ‘New View on Collaboration’  Want to throw in your two cents?  Do so here.

Our traditional view of sharing involves going to a repository and giving or taking.  What if it involved co-creating with someone anywhere who might be more of an expert than you?  What if you left a Google Document open to the world, with editing permissions, and asked for some help.

What would happen?

This post is available here for you to make better.

If you do make any changes, could you let me know where you’re from?  Twitter name too if so inclined.

3:28 – 32 viewers
3:37 – 35 viewers
10:17 – 54 viewers

I use Google Docs routinely in class. I let the students have their fun the first time they experience simultaneous collaboration (writing dirty words, deleting other students’ content, etc.), but after that it becomes a serious tool they never abuse (especially after I show them I can track all revisions!).

I find that, even though they can view all other students’ work, they rarely edit or make suggestions on other students’ work, unless I specifically make it part of the assignment. Interestingly, they don’t even ask others to review their work, even though they know it’s super easy to do so.

I have also used Google Docs to collaborate on province-wide writing projects. The ability to add comments specifically directed (and emailed) to certain authors (by pre-pending + to the email address of the author) makes it a very powerful and effective tool.

Your idea about collaborating on a lesson plan is an excellent one, but it’s something that I have never seen done outside of sponsored, paying writing jobs. I have my own theories about why that is, but those thoughts are best shared over an adult beverage, not in a public document.

I believe Zoe has a public document that does not require a password to edit. Perhaps she can shed some light on her experience with that.


Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: Follow me on Twitter: I'm bookmarking things at:

One thought on “New View on Collaboration”

  1. Interestingly, that seemed to happen here, Peter. I noticed a lot of people opening the document but other than you, I don’t think that anyone edited it. I had a Twitter message from someone who thought that the post might get Internet butchered so I was curious to see what would happen.

    I guess people are just too polite (or the post wasn’t interesting enough to fix) I should have written more in the passive voice.


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