Etherpad

I was, quite happily getting on with the usual Saturday morning work (reports to write, courseowrk to mark, but I’m spending all my time checking on forums, Facebook and Twitter) when I see a tweet from @mbarrow about a group of people doing something on some website – and there was a URL.

So I clicked away, and sure enough @teachernz has started a document on Etherpad for a number of teachers to explore (also present were @mrs_banjer & @scratchie). I described it as a streamlined wiki on speed. You only get one page and you can’t embed anything, but you get up to 8 people editing a live document simultaneously. No refusing to save because someone else is editing – you see what is happening live; each user having their own colourscheme so you can see who is adding/deleting/improving what.

I see huge potential for collaborative group work and the whole thing just seems to work very well.

It’s not perfect for a classroom situation – small group size, the ability to deface others’ work with ease, the lack of accountability as you can have the same colours as someone else, no logging in so someone could use a false name, etc. – but to solve those issues you would have to compromise somewhere else and you end up with a Wiki. Which is great for when you need one. And this is great when you need something else!

Edit: Clearly one of the issues is the lack of clarity over exactly who said what, to whom and when. As a result of which I now believe that @mbarrow started the document and not @teachernz. Either way, a great little web app and one I shall be returning to often, I feel.

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3 thoughts on “Etherpad

  1. Mrs_Banjer says:

    Wasn’t it fun?! We came up with such a long list of uses that could be made of this tool that all of us crossed our fingers hoping that it won’t be blocked on Monday morning when we go to school!

    It is interesting to note that three of us are under the impression that a different person started the ball rolling. When I saw @mbarrow’s tweet and entered it was only us in the space and you have @teachernz as the person who set it up. That could be another issue for our list! How do you know? Those colours need to stay don’t they! I just returned to the document and the list of participants has disappeared so there isn’t a perpetual record of who contributed either.

    Fiona

  2. Currently doing a mini-project in my lab using etherpad and wordle. Had the students type in their answers to a survey asking things like favorite color, favorite restaurant, favorite sport, etc. They all typed in the name of their teacher. I have over 20 students in the lab at a time, so had to share the eight computers to get everyone’s answers. Then we copied the text and pasted in wordle to get a word cloud we call “The Flavor of My Class.” Students are loving it. We have had a few issues with students not knowing where to place the cursor so they are not typing on the wrong line, but I just get them started. I will print the word clouds out in color and post to the outside computer lab wall. I also give the students a black and white copy. Probably post on each teacher’s website. Will be blogging about this and showing finished project on my blog soon…computertime.wonecks.net. Using those programs I found on Ideas to Inspire. Thanks!

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