September 18, 2021

G Suite and collaborative writing: teaching becomes captivating!

Have you ever heard of “collaborative writing”?

Wikipedia defines it as “a method of group work that takes place in the workplace and in the classroom.(…). One of the fundamental characteristics of collaborative writing is asynchronicity, that is, the fact that the members of the group do not have to come together to work together so that writing times are significantly reduced”.

It is therefore the possibility for a group of people to write the same document from different places and using different devices.

With Google Docs all this becomes reality.

Google Docs is a Google text editor, absolutely free, which allows you to create documents and collaborate with other people based on the Google Drive cloud.
But not only: during the writing of the text, without leaving the editor, it will be possible:

• activate the chat and communicate with other users while they write;

• comment on parts of the text,

• suggest corrections without changing the original content,

• assign activities,

• discover the contribution that everyone made for the drafting of the document.

Sharing and collaborating are in fact peculiarities of Documents: not well known peculiarities but very interesting especially in the school environment.

Try to imagine the advantages that you could get by using these features with your class: your teaching will become more performing, innovative and captivating!

Imagine, in fact, to assign students the drafting of a report for a project which they will write together with your supervision.

This way you can follow the students’ work in real time and interact with them through the chat, you can correct, give advice or ask for clarifications on what a student has written or is writing; the student will be able to respond, motivating their choices. In addition, if each student writes a part of the text, you can evaluate each person’s commitment and contribution using the history of the Documents activities: you can then check what he wrote, modified or deleted and how long it took him to do it.

Not to mention the benefits of using Docs with Google Classroom!
Google Docs is, in fact, included in the suite of tools designed by Google for the school known as G Suite for Education.

Try to imagine even further: Google Docs will also allow you to create collective writing texts, a form of writing, in fact, that involves multiple authors.
“Normally we speak of collective writing in reference to the composition of narrative texts, while we prefer to use the more generic term collaborative writing for other types of texts”, we read on Wikipedia.

The phenomenon of collective writing, in fact, is not only a literary game, but in Italy has a strong tradition: just think of the fantasy-adventure novel The Tsar Did Not Die in 1929, written by 10 authors of the so-called “Group of Ten”, a collective of Futurists headed by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Massimo Bontempelli, or the famous Letter to a professor, collectively drawn up by the students of the Barbiana School under the supervision of Don Milani, among the supporters of collective writing; also noteworthy is the collective novel of the literary Carboneria Maiden Voyage, edited by Francesca Garello and written by 10 authors.

In recent years, however, collective writing has acquired greater artistic and commercial dignity, thanks above all to the success of the novels of the collective Wu Ming, which has been joined by the collectives Kai Zen and Paolo Agaraff.
In 2007 the writers Gregorio Magini and Vanni Santoni founded SIC, a scientific method of collective writing for the participatory writing of short stories and novels by groups, which has so far produced eight short stories and a novel.

So why not create a collective writing project in your classroom too, taking advantage of all the benefits of Google Docs? Do you already have an idea on how to use it?

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