Collaborative Documents

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

What are they?

Collaborative documents are documents, usually stored online, that can be edited by multiple users, either in real time or non-real time. Such documents may be text-based, presentations, spreadsheets or forms. There is software available for this purpose, or users can use browser-based (online) versions (source: Wikipedia).

Collaborative documents may be used by teachers for planning or organisational purposes with multiple users editing the same document rather than emailing a series of versions.

In the classroom, collaborative documents offer an online alternative to more traditional peer writing exercises. Collaborative documents may be used for brainstorming, planning, shared report, procedural, narrative or other writing or many other uses. 

What do they look like?

Working online

Please note: This page is a teacher resource. Teachers are advised of the need to check the terms and conditions, privacy, and age restrictions of digital resources before using them with students. Teachers need to be aware of how and where their students’ information and content is used and shared by the digital technologies they plan to use. Parental consent must be obtained to use a student’s personal information to generate accounts and provide access to online services. Non-identifiable information should be used by students working online.

Microsoft One Note

How it works: Microsoft One Note is part of the Microsoft Office suite available to all DEECD staff and students as part of the Windows software image. It is not currently available for Mac users. Teachers and students can use Microsoft One Note on a single PC or within a School as a collaborative document or on the Web itself. One Note takes the form of a journal with chapters and pages on each topic. Text and images can be dragged/copied from other sources including web sites, subject to allowed use.

Classes can use One Note documents as a common reference or can collaborate; all changes are saved automatically.

Safety information: Any School based collaborative  or online usage must adhere to Department protocols including privacy.

Google docs

How it works: Users create and share online documents with selected friends or colleagues. After creating the document, users enter the email addresses of the people with whom they wish to share a given document and send them an invitation. Once invited to share a document, multiple users can sign in to Google documents to view and edit the document, spreadsheet or presentation. Updating the pages with recent changes is quick but not instant.
Safety information: As users need to sign in to access the collaborative documents, user contributions are easily tracked and anonymous contributions avoided.

Ether pad

How it works: Users can set up a free public pad instantly. A unique web address for the page is automatically created and the web address can be sent to others to enable real-time collaboration. Users can also use the chat feature at the same time. Contributions by different users appear with a different colour highlight. Contributors are encouraged to add their name, though it is possible for users to add content anonymously.

Safety information: Contributions are immediately added to the page. Discussions about ethical online behaviours should occur prior to work with students. Students should be encouraged to immediately add their name so their contributions can be tracked. Issues could result with anonymous use, particularly outside of class time. Teachers should remind students that each page can be reviewed as a time line with all additions and deletions visible.