So I’ve been looking for a chance to use Etherpad for quite some time now and last week proved to be the perfect opportunity. I had just organised a guestspeaker to appear via Skype in my senior Outdoor Education so we needed to come up with a series of questions to ask him for the following week. So I created an Etherpad and sent it to all of my students via the simple URL it gives you. The best thing is you don’t need to sign up in order to start contributing to the ‘pad’.

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Anyway my students received the URL and got to work creating a series of questions that they we could then ask during the interview. The ability to see each others work update in real time meant that there was no double up in the questions. It also seemed as though they motivated each other to contribute, with comments such as ‘how many have you created’ flowing around the room. Within minutes my class had created a high quality document that they could then print and use in their preparation for the interview. Click to see Our Pad.

So why is this better than a bit of poster paper and a class brainstorm activity?

Well digital text is moveable, editable, mashable something a poor old poster would struggle to do. The winner is in the ability to collaborate with people from the other side of the world as if they were in the same room. We tested this out when our guest stopped in and watched the questions he was about to be asked, be created. This proved to be a major motivator in the  brainstorming process as the students were writing and rewriting their questions to ensure they would be well received by Eric.

An amazing free web2.0 tool with incredible power for collaboration and too top it all off…. its so easy.