Friday, October 19, 2007

Online debate

The Economist is hosting an online debate in the spirit of Oxford-style debate. The online variant is
1. the debate is no longer a team sport. Each side is represented by ONE speaker only.
2. There are three chances to advance the case (just like the traditional debate) but are published at the same time.
3. The floor are welcome to comment and vote at any time. Comment should be addressed to the moderator. [The website is not explicit whether the debaters are able to see the comment at real time.]
4. The final result is determined by the votes.

The first debate is on "he continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds little to the quality of most education". The proposition is Sir John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Commonwealth of Learning and the opposition is Dr Robert Kozma, Emeritus Director and Principal Scientist at SRI International.

Schedule of events

Oct 15th: Proposition revealed. Debate begins.

Oct 18th: Rebuttals posted.

Oct 23rd: Closing arguments.

Oct 26th: Final winner announced.


Monday, August 14, 2006


According to the website:
Share what you make and how others can make it.

by using photos and short descriptions.

This is a great place to start if you want to try some DIY projects. The projects listed in the site varies a lot - so anyone should find something interesting to try.

The subtitle of the site is "step-by-step collaboration". Technically, it is not collaboration. It is sharing.

cross posted to Random Walk in Learning

Friday, August 11, 2006

Collaborative tools

Here is a list of selected collaborative tools currently available to anyone free from the webs:

Document writing
Zoho writer

Numbler [via MasterMind Explorer Issue 162]
Google Spreadsheet
Num Sum
and many more from a google search.

Drawing Tools
Google SketchUp A 3D modeling tool
ajaxSketch and Gliffyare web-based drawing tools that provide an environment for diagramming, creating flow charts.
Mikon vector-based drawing and sharing enabled.

Notes sharing
Google Notebook

Please send me more links to make this more comprehensive.

cross posted to Random Walk in Learning

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Collaborative Learning Activities Using Social Software Tools

via Virtual Canuck

The above document is actually created on writely reported here. Hence those with edit rights can modify the document. (A trim-down version of wiki???)

This is a fairly comprehensive list of "collaborative" tasks, among some of which interestingly, there are some activities to done by sololy. I think such solo task is important - such as introduction of the participants to the group. This is followed by a "who's who" activity - a kind of ice-breaking activity.

I have taken a quick look at the current blog, few minutes before I write this post and found that there were 25 posts, 7 were submitted by Donna Cameron or Terry Anderson (the course lecturers, I suppose) and the rest by 6 other people. Of course, I don't know the size of the cohort and hence very difficult to say whether the participation pattern of this blog is similiar to discussion forums (lots of lurkers and few active participants). Also I do not know the stage of the course and hence it may be at its early introduction stage. May be the authors can enlighten me.

There is a jigsaw activity included in the list. However, it seems that there is no distance technology to support the expert groups.

A note to potential adopter of this design: As it is obviously part of a course, there is an implicit timeline which serves to get most participants to work in approximately the same pace. If you are to adopt this design and if the participants may be spanning over very different time scale, it may not work. For example, it would be very difficult to enter the social group if a participant join a few months after the start. (At least, the late-comer will have a long blog to read before able to know the norms of the group, and worse still, blogs are posted in reverse chronological order, making the reading even more difficult.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Using puzzle as Asynchronous Collaborative Learning Activity

Here is a puzzle for you:

What is this, you may ask. Well it is Twisted-Pair Puzzles suggested in this month's PLAY FOR PERFORMANCE by Thiagi. The good thing is that it is generated by software. How to solve that, read Thiagi's example.

The idea behind the puzzle is to keep the player to really think hard. Once the player solved the puzzle, the message in the puzzle will be inprinted in the player's mind. So this method can be used in many different subject or discipline.

Better still, I believe it can be used as an ACOLLA (Asynchronous Collaborative Learning Activity). Why the teacher/lecturer/instructor has to create the puzzle in the first place? Why can't we just name the topic and get the players to generate the puzzle, mix them and redistribute for other to solve? Creating the puzzle, ie finding the message, is another good learning opportunity.

Now, back to the puzzle at the beginning of this post. It is still bothering you, right? Here is a hint: This is the key message I wanted to say in my post, in Random Walk in eLearning. OK, you want to cheat. Here is the answer:
to provide a safe environment for people to experiment and test out


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Real time collaborative notes taking

After writely and writeboard, I found another interesting collaborative writing tool called jotlive. From the website:
JotSpot Live allows you, your colleagues or clients to take notes together on the same web page at the same time. Imagine everyone simultaneously typing and editing the same Microsoft Word document and you'll get the idea.

More importantly, jotlive manipulates your document on a line by line basis. Almost immediately after you save, the change is reflected to the other group members' screen. (Since it is a line-based tool, it would be nice to automatically do the save function.) The line can be dragged up and down. By double clicking a line, you can edit as well.

Very simple and effective interface.

Again, you can use jotlive for free, limited to 5 pages per month.

If you have Internet connection in your lecture room, your students can take notes collaboratively. :-)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Collaborative writing tool - writely, writeboard, wiki

I seldom write solo. Except these blogs, all my work have been collaborative efforts.

I am also Linus-style write: release-often and changes often.

If I initiated a paper, typically, I wrote a paragraph or two and sent to my collaborators who made edits and added ideas and more paragraphs. We did that as many times as we felt appropriate (or when the deadline came). Then we submitted the paper.

The tool we used was Word and Email. For Word, we turned the tracking on. After a few turns, the first author would clean up - removing the tracking and start again. Each draft was sent to the collaborator(s) by email. We usually responded promptly.

There are alternatives. Wiki is well known.

There are two which I found out recently: and 37signals has a good comparison of them.

With both writeboard and writely free (at least for the time being), teachers can get their student so write collaboratively. Hey, remember to give them more time because collaboration takes more time, but definitely will improve the quality of the work. This is also an experience students will need as they enter the work place in the future.