This evening I’m in Denton, Texas, and my son is back in Edmond, Oklahoma. He needed some help with his advanced debate class assignment, in which he’s researching the definition of “Objectivism” and writing some attacks as well as defenses for it. Thankfully, as a 7th grader he knows how to use both Google Documents as well as Delicious social bookmarks.

Collaborating about Objectivism

He called me this evening after our weekly K-12 Online Conference organizer Skype call, and I helped him brainstorm ideas for his assignment. It was REALLY cool for both of us to work synchronously on the same Google Doc, and watch the text in real-time which we were both adding to the document. It was also great to see the social bookmarks he’d already saved on his delicious account for “objectivism,” and make some suggestions for other sites he could utilize.

My son's social bookmarks on Objectivism

Even though we’re three hours apart, it’s great to be able to help him out with his homework assignment like I was still at home. Collaborative tools like Google Docs and social bookmarks should be in the “toolkits” of all learners, in all our homes and schools. Besides getting laptops in the hands of all learners, there’s a wide knowledge divide that still separates us from being able to engage regularly in this type of collaboration. I’m hoping my writing project with Karen Montgomery, “Powerful Ingredients 4 Blended Learning,” will help constructively address this divide. This weekend I updated the chapter, “Redefining the Beginner,” and will be going over that with my “Computers in the Classroom” undergraduate students tomorrow in class at UNT. I also may use this as an example of digital collaboration with the faculty at Southeastern Oklahoma State College in Durant, during our workshop this Friday about the iPad and blended learning.

I’m elated to be able to collaborate and learn in these ways with my son. 🙂 Maybe someday, all the teachers and students at his school (which IS outstanding) will be able to engage in these types of collaborations regularly as well.

Dad and Alex

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2 Responses to Collaborating on a debate assignment with Google Docs and Social Bookmarks

  1. AllanahK says:

    I loved the comment I heard today from a school principal who is using Google Apps documents, “When children share their docs with me I can SEE them learning.” All from her office!

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    That IS an awesome quotation!

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