Sunday, October 25, 2009

Collaboration = Good?

I am thinking about collaboration quite a bit lately. There can be such a disconnect between what we ask students to do and what actually happens in the adult world. When do adults work together? Some recent examples I've seen: my husband calls on a potential client with a colleague, writes a rough draft of his analysis alone (but says he needs to make several phone calls along the way). The draft then gets read by everyone else involved and changed (sometimes dramatically). Finally, he meets again with his colleagues to frame an approach.

The teacher of my favorite exercise class told us yesterday that our new routine was one she practiced and learned with two other teachers.

As we write our report cards and prepare for conferences, I meet with the other teachers on my team and we run down the list of students, sharing concerns, examples, etc so that we are all informed. However, we write the drafts of the reports alone, then pass them around for comments and editing.

Life is collaborative, isn't it? Many athletic teams certainly experience this (though not all).

BUT--should writing be collaborative? I'm going to play around with etherpad next week with my students. It looks a bit less cumbersome than creating a whole Google Doc for just a paragraph of shared text. I like the examples I've seen and the ability to have a sidebar conversation during the writing.

At this point though, I'm not sold on writing as a collaborative act. Maybe just every now and then? We'll see.