Several technologies are going to converge into this one piece of online text. We are planning on having our students Skype to each other on several occasions. Through Skype my students can collaborate with Garth's students. They can work in a real-time environment, problem-solve and discuss where their book is going. Our students are no longer just a small part of our individual schools, but truly members of a wall-less classroom. The book will be created using a Wikispaces site. It's free, simple to edit and can be accessed by anyone willing to add content. That means college professors, other schools, anybody with the internet. We will also use Google Docs, allowing students to edit and converse with eachother in a digital format, outside of the classroom. If I have a student who is interested in medieval armor, they can post their texbook page ideas on a Google Doc and Garth's students can help him edit, add to, focus their ideas. Our students can work on Google Docs form their cell phones if they choose. My 40 minute periods and the fact that Garth's bell schedule is different from my school will not impede our students ability to communicate and collaborate. We are going to create Wordle word clouds for each topic. This will be a great visual element to each page of the textbook. Students, collaborators and visitors to our students' site can see the important ideas, words and phrases that summarize different historical events.
As I said this is a huge undertaking, and will span the course of years, until we think of something else to have our students collaborate on. I encourage all teachers, new and old, to reach out and find people to collaborate with. We have to look beyond the day or the year and create meaningful learning experiences that enrich our students' lives, incorporates curriculum and 21st century skills, and follows them throughout their education.