Global Educators Cohort Program - Teacher Education

Click here for Site Map
Jump to Main Content

iTecs Innovative Ideas
April 24, 2009
Welcome to the iTecs news blurb, a weekly note of ideas for using technology in instruction and to enhance your professional life. We'll keep it simple and brief, but feel free to contact us for more information or to schedule time to work with us.
Topic: Collaborative Writing
Highlights: 1. Introduction to key features of collaborative writing
2. Introduction to the free tools of collaborative writing
3. Research on collaborative writing
Features of Collaborative Writing
Free Tools of Collaborative Writing
File types supported: the ability to support file formats for the files that can be edited collaboratively
Text chat: the presence of a text chat that users can utilize to communicate while editing.
Revision: the capability to track all changes made to the original document and go back to older versions.
RSS: support for RSS feeds, allowing users to get real-time notifications when changes are made.
Email update: the capability to receive e-mail updating users when there are changes to the documents that are being edited.
Public/Private: the possibility to set up private or public collaborative editing sessions.
Max Editors: the max number of editors allowed
Real-Time Co-editing: the possibility to collaboratively edit in real-time
Comments: the possibility to add comments to the document
Spell check: the availability of a spell checking tool

Zoho Writer is a collaborative editor that lets you create your documents and share them publicly or privately. The interface is very intuitive and you can import any existing document to work on it. Zoho Writer also enables you to export you text in several formats, such as PDF, ODT, Word, HTML and others. Zoho Writer offers about 20 different fonts among which to choose. Free to use.
Writeboard is a web-based editor that enables you to write online documents and collaborate with colleagues. You can subscribe to documents via RSS to be notified of changes and keep your writings organized with Backpack integration. Writeboard requires Internet Explorer 6.x, Safari, or Firefox and it is free to use.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets is a web-based editor that allows you to create text documents and spreadsheets. You can easily do all the basics, including making bulleted lists, sorting by columns, adding tables, images, comments, formulas, changing fonts and more. Google Docs & Spreadsheets allows you to upload your files and make changes to them online. It accepts most popular file formats. It is possible to invite people and work on files collaboratively; additionally, you can publish your documents and spreadsheets online with one click, as normal-looking web pages. Free to use.

Free Tools of Collaborative Writing
Research on Collaborative Writing
Socialtext is a collaboration platform that allows everyone to work on the same page. It allows users to edit within a simple WYSIWYG interface and you can also preview while editing and comment on any page.
Coventi Pages is an online tool that enables users to share, discuss, and revise documents. Coventi Pages is a tool that makes it easy to collaborate on documents, whether there are two or twenty people involved. Coventi Pages emphasizes the single author's ownership of a document, with others permitted to comment on rather than being allowed to alter text.
· Collaborative writing on Wikipedia
· Collaborate @ Stanford
· Authorship of Collaborative Writing
· Collaborative Writing: Some late 20th trends
Note: Most materials were adapted from the website Kolabora
Comments? More ideas? Feedback?
Respond via email or click on the Discussion tab above to add your input to this issue.

external image clip_image002.png
Innovation with Technology in Education Consultants (iTecs)
We are three graduate assistants at Michigan State University who aid the Teacher Education faculty and instructors in using technology to teach subject matter in pedagogically effective ways in their classes. We are available for meeting with teams or individual instructors or assisting with classes. More information can be found on our iTecs wiki,

If you would like to be taken off the iTec Innovative Ideas list, please email us. If you know someone who would like to be added, have them email us at and they will receive our next Innovative Ideas.

Issues will be archived on the iTecs wiki, Be sure to browse for other ideas there!

Volume 1 Issue 5

Innovation with Technology in Education Consultants (iTecs)
Michigan State University
Department of Teacher Education
133-E Erickson Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824