Online Collaborative Writing Tool Redefines Classroom Plagiarism

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With MixedInk, writing assignments become social occasions where students remix and rate peers’ work and learn 21st century skills.

MixedInk, an online collaborative writing startup, has launched a new suite of features designed for the classroom. With these new tools, teachers can enable students to write together, evaluate their classmates’ writing, and learn from their peers.

The MixedInk platform invites students to remix each others’ words and ideas while automatically tracking authorship through the collaborative process. By encouraging students to reuse their peers’ ideas, the tool offers an innovative model for classroom collaboration that pushes traditional boundaries. The new educational features are available via http://www.mixedink.com/educator.

Originally designed to facilitate public participation in policymaking and news, MixedInk’s platform has been used successfully by the White House, media organizations – including the Associated Press and Slate Magazine – and a range of advocacy groups. “Education presented itself as a compelling application early on,” says MixedInk co-founder Vanessa Scanfeld, “but we were surprised to find that teachers had become our largest and most passionate group of users.”

MIT’s New Media Literacies Project has recognized the platform’s potential as a powerful classroom tool, and the Software Information Industry Association’s Ed Tech Summit highlighted the company as an innovator.

After a teacher sets up a project for the class, each student can:
(1)    write an original essay,
(2)    craft a remixed essay that combines the group’s best language and ideas,
(3)    provide feedback though comments, and
(4)    rate to help choose the most popular of the individual and collaborative versions.

By encouraging critical analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, MixedInk instills higher order competencies that remain important long after students leave school. MixedInk also develops a range of 21st century skills, including collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

Nate Kogan, an upper school history teacher from Texas who uses MixedInk with his students, says , “the kids initially feel a little funny about borrowing their classmates’ language,” but MixedInk has helped students gain confidence in their own ideas and interpretations. “They see how their ideas, phrasings, incorporation of evidence often parallel that of their peers.”

The educator package, offered as a premium service, provides a number of teacher-friendly features including password protection, the ability to pre-register students without using email addresses, an interactive report showing each student’s independent contributions, removal of advertising, and advanced moderation controls to easily remove inappropriate content.

About MixedInk LLC

MixedInk is an Internet startup that offers innovative, web-based software for collaborative writing. The platform enables a group of people to weave their best language and ideas into a single text. The tool can be used for free at MixedInk.com, with premium services available for educators. MixedInk’s technology has been used to gather public input by the White House, The Associated Press, and Slate Magazine; the company and its projects have been featured by ABCNews.com, Wired, Information Week, The Christian Science Monitor, TechCrunch, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

For more information about MixedInk, or to schedule an interview, please contact Vanessa Scanfeld at Vanessa(at)mixedink(dot)com or David Stern at David(at)mixedink(dot)com.

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Vanessa Scanfeld
MixedInk
(347) 926-3353
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David Stern
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