Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Using Collaborative Tools

Here's the thing. You have to have collaborators in order to have collaboration. The implication in the readings I have done recently is that if you put something out on the web, someone will respond. If we are going to use the read-write-web with our students we have to let them know that there is no guarantee that someone will respond to your writing. There is no way to predict if what you write, or publish, or ask questions about on the web will be responded to.

In the classroom we certify there will be a response if we require it of other students, but we can't promise that once the students are on their own someone will. If we can show the intrinsic value of thinking and wondering and putting those thoughts and wonderings down in writing; that the process has to be enough, then our students won't be discouraged if no one responds at first. If students have an unrealistic expectation about how their writing will be received they will stop doing it. They won't want to continue without the payback. I think part of the teaching about the process is to let them know there may not be anyone (at least at first) who will respond to their questions or comment on their writing.

I don't mean we should discourage them from posting, but let them know that there has to be a reason to write other than to gain an audience. Without putting something out, you will certainly not make connections. We should also teach that one of the responsibilities of being part of a community is to give, to participate. So part of being part of the world community online is to make comments where appropriate.

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