Ten schools have joined forces to write a collaborative encyclopedia that can be shared and accessed safely through ONE. Read on for a closer look at the educational benefits of collaborative writing and the tools you can use to try out this approach within your own class, school, or across several schools.
In school, the act of collaborative writing centers collective intelligence within the learning process. This interesting and enriching activity encourages students to cooperate and become more engaged in order to do their part. When working together to design an online encyclopedia, students also get a chance to practice the skills they are learning in the classroom, question the world around them, and use digital tools. “They have to research documents and images and work in small groups to revise their writing. They also have to learn to add references to their work and publish it. There are tons of opportunities for learning,” says Sébastien Bernard, Academic Director.
A collaborative encyclopedia on sustainable development
At the start of the school year, the district sent out a pop-up message offering teachers the chance to sign up for a special project. Ten classes from 10 different schools chose to participate. “The 10 schools are located far away from each other.Right from the start, the goal was to build ties,” says Sébastien Bernard, who first had the idea for the project. “A Forum was then created to provide the participating teachers with support and help them to work together, especially when it came to selecting the topic of the encyclopedia. The teachers suggested themes and then voted on their favorite using the Forum tool.‘Sustainable Development’ was the topic that earned the most votes,” says the director. In the Forum, the teachers divided the main theme into related topics to create a wide range of entries.
A Wiki was then created and shared with the participating teachers. “We use ONE to communicate about projects and work on them as well. That’s why the Wiki application was a natural choice because it lets us create an introductory page with a summary and then add new pages over time as they are written by each class,” explains Sébastien Bernard, who also made a template page in the Wiki to ensure the encyclopedia’s content and design were consistent.
Each class started writing their pages, whether on pollution, energy, waste, or another related topic, at their own pace. They also used their preferred tools, such as the Pad, for example, so several students could work on the same text at once. “We have a page on biodiversity, where the students drafted and published images. They also saved questions from the Voice Recorder so they could send riddles to the other classes,” says Sébastien Bernard. All other participating classes can view all the pages in the Wiki and add comments. This approach is a great way to allow students to interact with each other remotely, foster curiosity, and improve critical thinking.