Digital Tools for Collaboration

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 2.29.24 PMImage source: Pixabay

Co-creating and sharing knowledge is an integral part of collaborative inquiry. While traditional face-to-face meetings for the team to share and create still happen, much of the sharing and learning that takes place is happening on the web.

Digital tools are software and platforms that use text, images, audio, and video for the learning and sharing of knowledge (Thomson n.d.). Presently, the web tools that we mostly use are part of Web 2.0 technology. Web 2.0 tools allow anyone with a digital device to create and publish their work onto the web. Many of the digital tools that are used for education are social media tools like facebook, twitter, wikis and blogs (Thomson n.d.).

Platforms for creating single works like moovly, Mindomo, Padlet and Lucidchart, Venngage, etc., allow users to make videos (i.e.,doodle animations), create mind maps, make charts and make infographics free of charge. There is also Google Docs which has the capacity for multiple users to simultaneously write on single document. These tools can be used to share knowledge within the team and create new knowledge collaboratively. All of these online platforms have options to publish directly to YouTube or to download, so these same tools can be used to share the results of the inquiry with the world (or your colleagues :)).

The Learning Management System, Blackboard, is a platform that I am familiar using for the online course that I teach. It allows students to communicate with each other using discussion forums, has drop boxes for assignment uploads and has video and audio capabilities so I can record sessions for students or run a live, virtual classroom complete with a whiteboard that I and the students can write on.

Other digital tools allow users to meet virtually through video (i.e., Skype, Webex) or, with a platform like CA Flowdock, communicate using text, instant video chat, or through collaboratively determined catalogues for tasks and work items.

There are also project tools to help manage the flow of the group inquiry project (i.e, Asana, monday.com and ProofHub).

From what I can see, it seems that the more sophisticated communication and management sites are more likely to cost money than the platforms that are for creating a single work like a mind map, video or infographic.

Digital tools make co-creating, sharing and managing the processes around collaborative inquiry a dynamic process with the added bonus of being visually appealing and fun to make; and since it is available online to all team members, it can be completed on everyone’s own schedule instead of all in one sitting like with a face-to-face meeting. Thanks to web 2.0 tools, final reports of the inquiry can be engaging, colourful and exciting media presentations.

A downside of digital tools is that it takes time to learn how to work the platform that is being used and that the technology itself may limit or even impact how and what information and knowledge is being inputted, particularly if users are not familiar with the technology.

Whether a person is a digital immigrant or digital native, web tools are how we are sharing and co-creating knowledge in the 21st century. As we move toward web 4.0 and see AI become increasingly integrated into the web, how we create and share knowledge will also continue to evolve.

Here is the link for my moovly doodle animation on Digital Tools for Collaboration.

References

Choudhury, N., (2014) (IJCSIT) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technologies, Vol. 5 (6) , 2014, 8096-8100. Retrieved from: http://ijcsit.com/docs/Volume%205/vol5issue06/ijcsit20140506265.pdf

Thomson, H., (n.d.), Wikis, Blogs & Web 2.0 technology. University of Melbourne University Copyright Office. Retrieved from: https://copyright.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/1773830/wikisblogsweb2blue.pdf

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Image source: Pixabay