As a writing teacher, I can tell you that I would have loved to have had GoogleDocs/GoogleApps for Education to use in my classroom. In fact, I still recall a story I heard from two classroom teachers a short 3 years ago who wanted all their students to collaborate on a newsletter, editing the work of other students, but being unable to. They had planned to work some elaborate process where one period of students would work with another period’s writings, but it fell apart instantly due to security restrictions in place at the school.
Simply, collaboration wasn’t easy to enable. At the time, I recommended using a blog or wiki but even those tools were blocked 3 years ago in this large urban district where my children attend school. Now, with GoogleApps for Education, those problems can be overcome…if only we can overcome the fear of CIPA and FERPA.
In the meantime, this is what collaboration in a writing classroom CAN look like for those nimble districts–notice I didn’t say "small," especially when it’s no longer small districts anymore, but mammoth ones like this District in Maryland–who take the plunge: