Collaborative Learning at Tech Forum Midwest with Jon Orech, Scott Meech, and Henry Thiele

Orech What is the first thing you think of when you think of collaborative writing? Probably wikis. But, it won’t just happen by building a wiki. Wiki is a tool. Collaborative writing is a process. Not a patchwork quilt, but
Publish date:
Social count:


What is the first thing you think of when you think of collaborative writing? Probably wikis. But, it won’t just happen by building a wiki. Wiki is a tool. Collaborative writing is a process. Not a patchwork quilt, but a seamless comforter.

This requires positive interdependence for:
Goal – what are you trying to achieve?
Role – what will your role be in the process?
Environment – the wiki itself
Task – schedule the goal
Identity – personalize your wiki

Work in small groups (3 is ideal), have frequent assessment, view the history of the wiki to see who is doing what, ask random questions.

Consider: what social skills are they learning? What is the group process? The teacher should go in and make evaluative comments to let the kids know you are watching the process.

Recent research indicates:
Asynchronous writing results in richer collaboration (Mabrito, 2006)
Online collaborative writing produces higher quality writing than face-to-face collaboration (Passig and Schwartz, 2007). Why? Students may be more likely to post anonymously online.
Monitor progress and give feedback on the wiki itelf

Most important: the final document must be valuable to others. Read Jon’s blog on the subject here.


Collaboration does not equal cooperative learning.

What can Google docs do for you? Don’t attach a document to an email, where it will live on too many computers. Sharing the documents saves the email glut. Scott predicts if we talk more to teachers about this, within two years 80% of our schools will go Google Docs. There must be trust

His school uses Gaggle, which filters education apps. Students email is archived for nine months.

See Scott’s at:

Read Scott’s blogs here.


Where are kids collaborating? Facebook. Example, Facebook changed their policies, users rebelled, so Facebook offered an “election” on their policies. Two hundred million people on Facebook, and Facebook said if more than 7000 users say we need to vote on this, we will vote on it. This made FB the fourth largest democracy. This is a huge collaborative philosophy. School must recognize the value of this.

How can we do this? Through Ning (example = Classroom 2.0). Your Ning is your own social network and your own url. (See Henry’s Ning list here). Plan lessons, post materials, edit the lessons – this becomes the common plan time. Give people time to play.

What does it take to collaborate well?

Meech: Trust
Orech: Practice
Thiele: Leadership



Sponsors: Tech Forum Midwest

SponsorsPlatinum Level SponsorsOptimize Learning Environments with 3Com Secure Converged Networks. 3Com equips learning communities with the most advanced network technologies at a price you can afford. Award winning 3Com® Ethernet based security products, high performance wired and wireless networks let

Speakers: Tech Forum Midwest

SpeakersSpeakers at Technology & Learning's Tech Forum are innovators in the field of educational technology. With years of experience as conference presenters, educators, school leaders and Technology & Learning authors, they offer a unique perspective on technology challenges and solutions.

Register: Tech Forum Midwest

VenueHotel Reservation InformationTech & Learning's Tech Forum Midwest will take place at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL on Friday, April 24, 2009. We have arranged for preferred hotel rates for Tech Forum Midwest attendees. When making reservations, simply

The Day the Nings Died - By Henry Thiele

 A long, long time ago...I can still rememberHow that music used to make me smile.And I knew if I had my chanceThat I could make those people danceAnd, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.But February made me shiverWith every

Image placeholder title

TL News: Henry Thiele on Believing the Unbelievable

T&L Advisor Guest post—Henry Thiele, Chief Technology Officer for District 207 in Park Ridge, IL: I continue to be reminded in my career that having too much confidence in what you know and believe can really be dangerous, but listening with an open mind can save you.

Program: Tech Forum Northeast

Program OverviewNow that the conference is over, you can use this page to access handouts and presentations posted by the speakers. >  7 00am 8 00amRegistration and Breakfast    8 00am 9 15amWelcome and Opening Keynote  Chris LehmannBuilding School 2.0