Thursday, November 17, 2005

Collaborative word processing

Will Richardson brought my attention to a web-based resource today, He just mentions it in passing, but there is something about this WBR that simply clicks for me.

Writely is a web-based word processing application that at first blush does the basics very well. I'm typing this entry on writely and it feels like I am working in Word. Once I finish, I will try out the blog tab at the top and see how well it works.

The real power of the tool, however, comes from the ability to collaborate on writing projects in real time. I can email an invitation to collaborate to one of my co-workers. She can then follow the link to see the document I have started. If we are both working on the document at the same time, writely will update the page in what seems to be near real time so we can see each others changes as they occur!

Distance educators take note. Imagine a student in an on line course completing a rough draft of a paper, emailing the teacher for collaboration, and then working with the teacher in real time on the revision of the paper. Pair this with chat or skype and instant writing conference.

Students in different classrooms, or different countries, could work together on a project.

On an amusing note, writely's spell checker doesn't think writely is spelled correctly.

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