Yesterday’s piece provided a quick look at QuadBlogging, the 100 Word Challenge, and other collaborative writing projects that classes can undertake together. I made a couple of suggestions of my own, both leveraging the BoomWriter platform, which involved classes Quad-Authoring an entire book or taking turns writing and selecting the next chapter for each other.
Let’s look at some of these ideas a little more closely, beginning with the standard sequence for authoring a book using BoomWriter:
(Click the image to see a full-sized version.)
Here we see a fairly small class — just seven students. Each student writes a first chapter of the book, which picks up where the story start left off. The students then review each other’s work and vote to select a winning Chapter 1 to be the official continuation of the story. Building from the winning chapter, each student then writes a second chapter. The students then repeat the review and voting process, and the book continues until it reaches a conclusion.
The QuadBlogging (or QuadAuthoring) model would work exactly the same way, except you would now have three additional classes participating as reviewers and selectors of the winning chapters. Each class would have a turn at writing the book, so in the end you would have four books — each written by members of one class with chapter review and selection performed by the other three classes.
Next we have the back-and-forth model, which would allow classes to truly collaborate. Each time a class begins a new chapter they would use as their starting point the previous chapter authored by the other class.
In the end you would have two books–two versions of the same story–both collaboratively written between the two classes. Or you could combine this idea with QuadAuthoring and let another two or three classes select between the two finished books. But I think there’s something appealing about the idea of writing two books together. Both classes would be equally invested in both versions — having contributed as much to one as to the other.
Now let’s really have some fun.
Once we’ve established the idea of classes handing off chapters to each other and reviewing and selecting each other’s work, some interesting possibilities arise. Imagine a book that spans a larger number of chapters written collaboratively between the same number of classes. Here we see 12 classes working together to create a book with 12 chapters:
(And the participating units wouldn’t have to be classes — they could be whole schools.)
Now imagine a book that’s all about the hand-offs. We’ll give this one a working title: The Day 100 Amazing Things Happened.
I’m not going to attempt a diagram of this one. Picture it. It would be a truly social collaborative effort. The book would be created by collaboration and invitation. One class would begin with a story start. Using the standard process they would write multiple versions of a first chapter. They would then reach out to a new class, asking them to
1. Review and select a winner from among the different versions of the chapter
2. Write a new chapter following the winning chapter they selected
3. Invite a new class to review their chapter, write the next one, and so on
The Day 100 Amazing Things Happened would need to consist of very short chapters, probably not more than 200-300 words. Imagine getting five classes to start such a book at the same time, competing with each other to complete the book within a given time frame. The results could then be judged among the (ultimately) 500 classes participating by a number of criteria:
- Completion — the book has to have 100 chapters
- Timeliness — all chapters must be submitted by the deadline
- Clarity and overall quality of the writing
- Reach of the authorship — who got invited to join / how diverse was the collaborative group?
- Amazingness of the things that happen (obviously)
The Day 100 Amazing Things Happened would probably need to be a high school project, but could easily be scaled down to a middle school project (with 25 amazing things happening) or even primary (with a dozen amazing things happening.) Once the handoffs started it would be truly fun and exciting for everyone involved to see see how things unfold.