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Web 2.0 tools – for teaching English Composition

1. What web 2.0 tools have you used /been using to teach writing skills?

  • Google docs(example using spreadsheets)
    • I’ve had students write in pairs or small groups on to a Google Spreadsheet that is projected on the Whiteboard so .. everyone can see what each other is doing
  • Primarypad – an etherpad
    • Great editing tool. The tool allows students to edit a sentence or paragraph. The sliding history feature makes transparent the decision making process used to edit the work.
  • Edmodo (posting & cataloguing screencams, Q & As)

2. What benefits do you see in using online resources for writing?

  • promote collaboration(students often do not get enough opportunities to learn what it is to work together to complete a task)
  • promote discussion amongst / between students(invite students to use “discourse” of a topic to help solve problems)
  • cultivate a culture of negotiating meaning (invite students to share their understanding of a task, its solution(s) .. and to learn how others might approach the same taks differently)
  • invite greater accountability to collaborative writing (each student’s work or contributions can be recorded via the history function; thus the evolution of a task can also be monitored to make more transparent the process used to realize a finished product)

3. What problems have you faced (do you think you will face) using these tools in your writing classes?

  • providing initial tech support(underestimating the amount of time it might take)
  • taking the time necessary to model how to use a selected writing tool (important not to assume that all students know the technology or the tool)
  • understanding how to deliver / model meaningful feedback to fellow students (students often resort to providing the same feedback that they hope to get in return which can often be “safe” but “nebulous” .. or the other extreme “direct” and “insensitive”)

4. How do your students react to using online tools for writing?

  • once understood by students, reaction is very positive
    • feedback is more frequent and meaningful for them (put in a language that they understand; comes from peers as well as teacher)
    • learning becomes more of a social event rather than done in isolation
    • learners take on more responsibility for supporting one another

5. Do you think that students are more motivated to write using online tools?

  • yes… for the reasons outlined in #4
  • plus.. for some.. it invites the opportunity to apply what they’ve informally learned from posting on other social networking tools (i.e. Facebook) to this situation

Posted in Professional-development.

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