A blog by George Engel

Collaboration in the 21st Century!

As I think about collaboration 20 years ago, I think of face-to-face meeting with groups of individuals.  These groups would meet at set times that were decided upon by the group or by a boss or professor.  Meetings were held with synchronous conversations and information was shared and developed at that time.  I can remember getting together with peers and developing PowerPoint presentations or going over calculations in aircraft design.  The most difficult part of these meetings had to do with setting an agreed upon meeting time that fit in with our schedules.  At this time, there were very few means available to have any sort of collaborative meeting other than face-to-face.

Today, these types of face-to-face collaborative meetings are still held even among the most technological.  However, face-to-face meetings are no longer necessary for collaborative work to be done.  Many new web 2.0 technologies, like Skype, now allow meetings to occur synchronously over vast distances.  Other types of web 2.0 technologies, like wikis, allow for asynchronous collaborations.  In these collaborations, group members do not need to meet at a common location to accomplish shared tasks.  With wikis, group members can post work on the wiki and have other members edit it until the finish work is ready to be published.  Another new type of collaborative software, Google Docs, allows members to create, post, and edit work on a document or presentation either synchronously or asynchronously.

These are just two of the amazing collaborative tools available for collaboration that now exist.  The strength of these types of tools is phenomenal.  Imagine conversations and collaborations being held by hundreds of individuals instead of just a few.  The scope of possibilities of the collaborations is now only beginning to be explored.

The following video represents the need of education to adapt to these tools to meet the needs of learners today who are crying out for the use of collaborative technologies like these to learn.


6 responses

  1. Great post
    I love the video. The digital kids will learn more and become productive members of society as they continue life’s journey when educators realize the importance of using digital technology in the classroom. Online educators and learners understand the importance of this medium. My presentation is on learner engagement and the use of electronic devices will keep the digital students engaged.

    June 27, 2009 at 1:05 AM

  2. Online learning environments offer more than a traditional setting. Sure you are missing the face-to-face interaction, but the technical aspects are better. The online community gives each learner a chance to use technology to the fullest. In the traditional setting the technology may be limited.

    Another plus the traditional setting offers is individuals can interact at their own discretion. If there has to be a meeting the time can be designated and each person can meet. Twitter, Skpe, Facebook, and other social network medias offer total interaction as if you were face-to-face.

    W. Jackson

    June 27, 2009 at 1:42 PM

  3. Arlene


    I have used Google Docs and it is a great collaborative tool. I was thinking that when I finish my program, I would invest in learning to use the authoring tools because many of the jobs in this field require knowledge of these software. You mentioned to Henry that you purchased Camstasia, is it difficult to use?


    June 28, 2009 at 12:23 AM

    • gbengel

      I am just learning to use camtasia. I do like it. It is great for recording work on the screen. It also adds a plug in to power point that allows you to save a power point presentation as a video with audio included. This is much easier than using power point alone.


      June 28, 2009 at 6:16 PM

      • Arlene

        Thank you for the information. I am going to give it a try.


        June 29, 2009 at 10:06 PM

  4. I love using Google docs and also using Google calender to schedule synchronous meeting times. At the NECC conference, I just learned about Google wave, a new feature that allows for multiple aps to be hosted at once, similar to the google desktop, except it is shared. Wow!

    July 4, 2009 at 4:54 PM

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