We heard about a Buzzword user recently who happily created a document on-line and after getting through the first draft, he promptly exported the document to a Word file and sent it to his collaborators as an email attachment.
Old work habits, it seems, are hard to overcome.
This is reminiscent of the joke about the guy who brought his new chainsaw back to the hardware store because it didn’t work half as efficiently as his old saw. When the store clerk powered up the saw to check its operation, the owner jumped back and yelled, “what’s that noise?”.
On-line collaboration applications like Buzzword offer a new, more powerful way to work together, but many people continue to use it as an old-fashioned word processor.
We’ve discovered that some of the avant-garde in on-line collaboration reside in education, where a new generation of students and teachers regularly work together, not in isolation as in former generations of school work (it’s sometimes said that, formerly in schools, there was another word for collaboration: “cheating”).
Creative teachers have latched onto Buzzword and reported dramatic changes in how they interact with their students throughout the writing process. And students interact with each other – peer editing has gained new life as a valuable approach to learning writing. We’ve heard teachers report that the quality of students’ writing has improved dramatically, simply by knowing there were collaborators there to help and comment throughout the process.
We’ve also heard that by using Buzzword, on-time submissions have improved. For one thing, we know that dogs can’t eat the homework that is done in Buzzword.
Teach Your Parents Well
As with many other recent evolutions in technology, the younger generation is leading the way, showing their parents and older “knowledge workers” more efficient ways to work. Instant Messaging, social networks, photo-sharing – and now document collaboration.
So we have a request for the avant-garde students out there: try sharing a written homework assignment with a parent. You might get some good grammar or style advice. And, you might just introduce them to a new way of working.