AT the advent of new technology, Web 2.0 for me has so far been a success story involving both collaboration and innovation. As an information technology student, I also consider myself as a young practicing IT professional so this means that at a university level, collaboration amongst peers in projects is extremely important. Needless to say, this encourages what we call as TEAMWORK to prepare us for the real world—the QUT way.
Like how I use actual paper notepads whilst gathering some news when I was a journalism student back in Silliman University, Philippines, I’ve always found it essential for me to get hold of some collaboration tool to keep in touch with my classmates especially on news beats that we share before. And mind you, we have to painstakingly write on a pad of paper (that’s if you don’t have a recorder) news quotes straight from the horse’s mouth. And yes, that was yesterday but now who would have thought what impact Web 2.0 applications can bring to our daily lives.
While there are many Web 2.0 applications that tackle about collaborative models for teamwork, after experiences of personally using TypeWith.Me I finally realize that, not only does it help students share notes amongst peers, but it also allows that capability to collaborate real-time with each other on the same page. But on a news reporter’s point of view, it does not substitute a voice recorder of course!
The search giant Google, as mentioned by Kevin Purdy in his blog, previously bought EtherPad in order to help the giant’s dead project Google Wave but the former’s producers “open sourced” it with the latter’s agreement. So when it was over, EtherPad eventually decided to create the new TypeWith.Me site which turned out to be a quick and dirty collaboration tool.
But allow me to personally focus on the meat of the news: If you happen to like Google Docs’ real-time collaboration but can’t be bothered on the registration, TypeWith.Me might suit your taste—just as it does to mine. It goes without saying let the typing begin!
Once at the site, all you need to do is Click to create a new documenton the very main page.
Each online document has its own unique uniform resource locator (URL), as in the following format http://typewith.me/xxxxxxxxx. As per previous encounters, I prefer to email rather than just dictate out loud the URL to my classmates—albeit to spare them some sanity as it does not follow a certain fixed pattern. So I suggest don’t even bother figuring it out too. But just be sure to put your name on the top right of the page, this will help keep track of who is doing edits as well.
As seen in this image below, Laura and I are still discussing about our group assignment even though another group mate, Dan, has left the page. What’s really handy is that Dan left us some tidbits of information for us to pick up from where he left off. To demonstrate how well coordinated we are, whatever I’m typing on my end shows up instantly on Laura’s computer and to add to that our respective texts appears in a different colour highlighting, this way I can tell who did what. How amazing is that?
Some Special Features
- Chat – you can communicate with your classmates (or workmates) about what you need to write over the main document sans the need for IM clients.
- Import/Export –this is where you can either import or export your final documents in various formats like HTML, Microsoft Word, PDF, etc., once your done.
- Authorship colors—identifies the color of the record of whoever fine tuned what in the document
- Time-Slider—shows a step-by-step slide playing the entire work done by any of the collaborators, again documenting who typed what.
- Saved Revisions—most importantly if you want to save a document in a sort of an archive, you can click save so anytime a collaborator can just get in there and totally mess it up but still go back to that particular revisions and start from there, given that you still have the same URL.
Overall this is an excellent site for students like me, to build and work on some sort of reports together. So in a teacher’s perspective this can actually be pretty handy as well, say a teacher uses this site while assigning students to work on a project. Being the instructor, you would also want to make sure that you get the URL of course. To monitor, you can go in there and click the Time-Slider feature and make sure everybody’s pulling their own weights and see at what time or day that they made those revisions on. And funny, you can see if they did it all the night before it’s due—good thing it’s not the case for this blog!
In conclusion,like any other budding IT professionals now I have learned that I need to keep in mind that harnessing collective intelligence also means participating, distributing, sharing, monitoring, listening and communicating to each other (and you can say TYPING) as ONE TEAM and truly that’s the fastest and safest road to Web 2.0 success.
So, now I ask the question Will You TypeWith.Me?
O’Reilly Network: What Is Web 2.0. 2011. O’Reilly Network: What Is Web 2.0. [ONLINE] Available at: http://oreilly.com/lpt/a/6228. [Accessed 17 March 2011].