Friday, February 13, 2009

A "wiki" alternative = Zoho Notebook

I'm a big fan of wikis because they allow students to co-create work and then share the results with others. Creations can be on-going and truly open-ended. However, sometimes you don't want all students editing everything... especially if you have some cyber-vandalism issues in your class.

One solution is to use something like the Notebook feature of Zoho. When you go to their site, you can see that Zoho has a range of on-line apps (a bit like Google Docs).

The Notebook app has several features that make it ideal for classroom co-construction:

  • Create different types of content
    Create content of type text, image, audio, video, etc.
  • Aggregate your information in one place
    Embed content of any type from multiple applications.
  • Fine grained collaboration
    Share a whole book, page or just an object on a page by granting read/write permissions.
  • Version control
    Keep track of changes not only at the book or page level but also at the object level.

You can create a "book", set up the pages, allow individual students (or pairs) to edit, write, annotate a specific page and leave others fixed. The final product is share-able via an external URL for the whole class to view, and the completed work can even be downloaded as an mht file (readable in Firefox with a plugin installation - UnMht.)

Here's an example: (Mock up of study guide for a French novel)

Start creating classroom resources your students can use.