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.