Monday, August 10, 2009

MixedInk - Outstanding Collaborative Writing App

I just got out of a webinar with Vanessa, from MixedInk, and I can't wait to tell you about it.

Collaborative writing is difficult, isn't it? How do students manage the various versions of the document, and how do they bring in other ideas to the document without cluttering it? How does a group of students decide which version is best? How can you see who all contributed to the finished product? Enter MixedInk.

With this site students can, for example, begin by each submitting his or her own version of the assignment. Students then can rate those versions and begin to pull bits and pieces from each one into what they're agreeing is a final version. They can select paragraphs, sentences, or entire pages to be included in the final version. And (and I think this makes it almost perfect) they can comment on the works in progress.

When a new topic is created by the teacher, the starting and ending dates are included. Plus, you can indicate a different date when the ratings will end. For example, all edits will stop on one day, but they'll have two more days in which to rate them. What's also great is that when those dates arrive, the tabs on the document change so you can't, for example, edit any longer. Then, when the rating period is over, that tab is gone, as well. VERY nice!

They are in the process of making it a bit more teacher friendly by, for example, making the ability to upload student accounts rather than requiring email validation, and the ability to generate more detailed reports. Even now though, this is one to check out for sure.

Watch the tour (below) but then get a couple people together to try this out for yourself. I just KNOW that you're going to like this tool.

MixedInk Demo from MixedInk on Vimeo.

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