Using Technology to Improve Writing

As a former English teacher, I know how important it is to teach students to write. I also know much of the writing that is included in our curriculum is boring to students and often viewed by students as irrelevant- persuasive writing, expository writing, narrative writing and reflective writing. All of these modes of writing are necessary to effectively communicate in the world (some more than others). It is in the teaching of these modes of writing and teaching writing in general where I think many of us fail as educators. The good news is… I think technology can help us. Technology, used effectively, can help add the component of relevance to writing – an authentic audience, collaboration, purpose and student motivation.

Blogs are one technological tool that can help improve writing. To improve at anything, individuals need practice and feedback. They also need to be able to chart their progress – to compare their work and see improvement. With this in mind blogs can be used by teachers as a formative assessment tool – in place of “writing portfolios.” Since blogs are on-line there is the potential for feedback from inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. Blogs are a great way to get students motivated and hooked on writing.

Some blog providers:
Blogger
Live Journal
WordPress

Blogmeister

Some examples of blogs being used with students:
Talking Teds
I Teach English
Room 613
Mr. Stevens

Wikis are another great tool to get students writing . Unlike blogs, wikis are designed for collaborative writing (yes, blogs can be used collaboratively too). Wikis can be used to create a body of knowledge that is accessible (and can be edited) by all or just those enrolled in the wiki… pretty neat concept.

Some wiki providers:
Wikispaces
PB Wiki

Some examples of wikis being used with students:
Wikibooks
Aristotle Experiment

Fictionpress is another tool that can be used to help encourage writing. It is a site where members can submit writing for review by others (basic membership is free). This site is geared more toward poetry and creative writing. My students have used the site in the past and thoroughly enjoyed feedback on their writing from others besides me.

Unfortunately, the next resource is currently blocked by my district (I am working to get it unblocked). Writely is basically an on-line word processor with collaboration features. I thought this resource might be nice for teachers who want to start some collaborative writing, but who may not feel comfortable with the format of wikis just yet.

Podcasting is the last technology resource I plan to feature. I know what you are thinking… yes, podcasts are audio files, but as evidenced by some of the elementary students in Irving ISD, they can also help improve student writing. You can listen to podcasts of the students reading their stories on the WT Hanes website.

I am certain there are other fantastic technology resources that allow students to publish their work and help them get excited about writing. I would love to hear about ways that have worked for you and your students.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Blog, Education, Technology, Wiki, Writing

2 Comments on “Using Technology to Improve Writing”

  1. Beauty Queen Says:

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