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Assessing applications for collaboration: from collaboratively usable applications to collaborative technology

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The continually increasing number of applications said to facilitate collaboration makes it very difficult for educators to identify and evaluate the ones that are suitable for educational purposes. In this paper we argue that from the educational point of view, it is meaningful to make a distinction between collaboratively usable applications and collaborative technology. Collaboratively usable applications are systems that can be used for collaboration, whilst collaborative technology is technology that is especially designed to support and establish collaboration. To distinguish between these two kinds of technologies, we propose four criteria for collaborative technology: its design is grounded on some explicitly argued theory of learning or pedagogical model; it relies on the idea of groupware; it provides procedural facilitation; and it offers representational and community-building tools.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology at the University of Helsinki

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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