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What are your favorite apps and programs you are using this year to help promote writing in your classroom? Please share! I have been especially impressed with the resources that give students direct feedback as they write- commenting on everything from incorrect spelling and punctuation to phrasing and word choice. Being able to provide a rubric that can instantly be updated as the student edits his or her work is so incredibly valuable to him or her and the teacher. Plus, teachers can still have access to student work and track their progress and make their own comments.
Personally, I love teaching writing, but I know so many instructors are not as comfortable doing so. Using programs that can help educators reach out to their students to encourage more consistent and better writing will create a much needed balance. Teachers will certainly save time and give students the opportunity to prove what they know beyond true or false and multiple choice questions.
Here are a few helpful links to great digital writing apps, programs and information.
Digital writing allows writing to become more easily implemented across the curriculum and not stay isolated as a language arts-only activity. Writing is becoming increasingly important as college educators and businesses have acknowledged a consistent decline in writing skills among those who are entering the work force fresh out of school. Being able to write well will not only be an asset for students in the classroom, but it will also help them become more competitive in receiving scholarships and it gives them the opportunity to be valuable employees and leaders.
When students have access to technology, they are able to research readily, interact with a broader community and create vivid publications, complete with pictures, graphs, maps or whatever is needed to bring the work to life for their audience. The students are invested and take ownership of their work because it is no longer a matter of just turning something in to their teachers- it’s a work of art, full of passion and dedication.
An important idea to remember is one that Virtual Village Classroom embraces wholeheartedly. With or without access to technology, students learn to write when they are exposed to models of good writing by great authors, their teachers and their peers. They need to read it, copy it, experience the process of creating in-depth responses and original work and explore all modes of writing consistently, while giving timely, quality feedback regarding their efforts. No matter what your circumstances are when it comes to the resources you are able to give your students, do not limit their potential to write well.
Whether they participate in digital writing or simply write with a pencil on a sheet of paper, encouraging them to write about what they know instead of requiring true/false, multiple choice or short answer. The occasional essay question could be a great start. Even the youngest students can have valuable writing experiences digitally or traditionally. Good luck!