Teaching Writing with Technology
Overview | Blogs | Instant Messages, Voice, and Video Chat | Microblogs | Mindmapping & Brainstorming | Podcasting | Really Simple Syndication (RSS) | Social Bookmarking | Social Networking | Videos | Wikis | Blackboard
When we talk about "teaching with technology," we typically mean teaching with Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs, wikis, social networking sites, RSS, and podcasts. These tools provide exciting possibilities for teaching writing, particularly as they enable online sharing, dialogue, and collaboration. For writers, these tools can help create a broader and sharper sense of purpose and audience. For teachers, these tools can provide you with new and exciting ways to engage your students and even make them want to write!
This page on teaching writing includes an overview of these tools and resources for teaching writing using a variety of these tools, as well as a section on teaching writing with Blackboard (which is the course management software we use at Montclair State).
While we'll be updating all of the pages on our CWE Digital Dashboard as we find new and useful resources, this page in particular is updated frequently. In addition to adding resources to the categories currently on this page, we will be adding new categories--e.g., using mobile technology (cell phones) to teach writing, using online games to teach writing, creating your own website for teaching writing, etc. So check back often!
- Are new technologies and social networking sites changing how students write? Writing in the 21st Century, a Report from the NCTE, suggests that we are in a period where "composers become composers not through direct and formal instruction (if at all), but rather through what we might call an extracurricular social co-apprenticeship" (5).
- In the news: "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology," National Education Technology Plan 2010 (U.S. Dept. of Education)
- "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" by Mark Prensky (2001) - a call for change in how we teach!
Teaching Writing Using Blogs, Wikis, and other Digital Tools companion web site
Richard Beach, Chris Anson, Lee-Ann Breuch, and Thom Swiss
Description: This companion web site for the book Teaching Writing Using Blogs, Wikis, and other Digital Tools published December 2008 includes exhaustive lists of links to Web 2.0 technologies of use in the writing classroom. For example "Chapter Two: Using digital writing tools for collecting, connecting, and organizing information" includes links to pages on online whiteboards, tools for collecting, organizing and note-taking digital text, tagging, and polling. Each page includes lists of links to Web 2.0 tools in these categories. Because it is a companion web site, the annotations to the links are in the book and not online. For that commentary, one needs to purchase the book.
Web 2.0 Tutorial
Descripion: Written with educators in mind, this wiki provides a nice definition of web 2.0 with explanations and resource links for key categories of web 2.0 tools used by educators such as social bookmarks, blogs, and wikis.
The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version)
Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University
Posted on YouTube: March 08, 2007 | length 4:34
Description: Now considered the classic video on the concept of "web 2.0" A must see for anyone interested in understanding web 2.0.
Web 2.0 and the Writing Classroom
Gina Maranto, Director of English Composition, University of Miami
Description: A brief video overview of some Web 2.0 tools for fostering student writing including using tags, social bookmarking, sharing images, and mind mapping. The second part in this series More Web 2.0 for Writing goes over additional tools such as blogs, wikis, aggregators, RSS feeds and Twitter."
Web 2.0: What It Is and Useful Tools for Educators
Melissa Seifman, Miami Valley Career Technology Center
Description: A great video introduction for educators on Web 2.0 tools that explains some of the main web 2.0 applications from blogs and wikis to social bookmarking and visual sharing.
Writing and Web 2.0
Posted: May 8, 2007 : length 52
Description: This is presentation Keith Hoffman gave on writing and Web 2.0 at the University of Wisconsin. This podcast is from the series "Tech Writer Voices" by Tom Johnson who podcasts about the latest trends in technical communication through interviews with tech writing luminaries around the world.
Computers and Writing 2009: Ubiquitious and Sustainable Computing at UC Davis
Posted to iTunes U: June 25, 2009
Official Description: "Sessions at the Computers and Writing 2009 conference transcended traditional boundaries: among school, work, and play; among academic disciplines; between k-12 and higher education; between online and offline; and among organizers, attenders, and presenters. The conference theme bridged what can sometimes be divergent context for inquiry. Critical to the vision for Computers and Writing 2009 was a sustainable perspective on lifelong computing and communication, which the conference participants achieved partly by integrating k-12 teachers as conference participants. By make k-12 as well as postsecondary education an integral part of the conference, UC Davis challenged conference participants not only to think about ubiquitous and sustainable computing in their own classrooms or workplaces, but within broader social and cultural dynamics across our lifespan and across learning institutions."
iTunes U Search String: Computers and Writing 2009
Selected list of browsers
Web 2.0 browsers are tabbed, extension-rich, and mostly open source allowing the web community to build tools that enhance and accelerate the online experience.
- Chrome – Google’s browser with tabs that bring search to the address bar
- Firefox – One of the best known open source browsers made to handle web 2.0 applications with features such as tabbed browsing, a spell checker, incremental find, live bookmarking, a download manager, and more. Functions can be added through add-ons, created by third-party developers, a feature that has attracted many of Firefox's users.
Flock –Called the "social browser," Flock les you upload and share photos and videos, blog, and get notices from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009
Jane Hart, Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies
Description: A list of online tools submitting by educational professional. Each tool listed is linked to a page that explains the tool, gives its URL, cost, availability and previous rankings as well as comments by the learning professionals who selected the tool as one of their top 10 tools. This is a great place to survey the online tools educators are using. The CWE uses the categories presented in this list for its categorization of web 2.0 tools. For a full list of the over 3000 tools for formal and informal learning divided into 25 main categories, click here
Web 2.0 for the Classroom Teacher: An Internet Hotlist on Web 2.0
Description: A list of categorized links for web 2.0 tools for K-12 classroom teacher. WIKI Digital Research Tools (DiRT)
Official Description: "This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Whether you need software to help you manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts, Digital Research Tools will help you find what you're looking for. We provide a directory of tools organized by research activity, as well as reviews of select tools in which we not only describe the tool's features, but also explore how it might be employed most effectively by researchers." WIKI Classroom 2.0
Description: An expansive wiki on web 2.0 tools and how they can be used in the classroom. The blog divides the tools into categories. Some of the best pages are the ones on blogging and wikis.
Cool Tools for Library 2.0
These are short podcasts of Web 2.0 tools and their uses in educational settings. These Podcasts are produced and presented by graduate students in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University.
Here’s a linked list of the tools reviewed:
- 30Boxes - an online calendar application with built-in social networking features.
- 43Things - This tool helps people organize life lists and goals.
- Animoto - a web-based service for creating a music video from your pictures
- Bloglines - a free web-based service that collects and aggregates a user's online subscriptions.
- BookGlutton - a free social networking tool that revolves around reading
- Brainify - a social bookmarking tool intended for students and faculty at colleges and universities for bookmarking web sites relevant to college courses and academic subject areas .
- Del.icio.us - a social bookmarking tool that allows users to bookmark interesting links for later use and to share with friends.
- Digg - a social networking website where users can discover and share content - news stories, blog posts, web links, photos, and videos - from anywhere on the Internet.
- Dimdim - a free web conferencing tool
- Evernote - a note saving tool that functions on the web, on your desktop, or on your mobile phone.
- Feed 43 - a free, web-based tool for converting web pages to RSS feeds or customizing existing RSS feeds
- Flickr - an online photo management and sharing application that allows you to organize your photos into sets and collections, to tag them, and to share them with friends and family.
- Flock a free, open source, "next generation" Web browser that aims to integrate a wide variety of Web 2.0 applications directly into a browser.
- Gliffy - a diagramming tool
- Goodreads – a social network for readers
- Google Calendar - a free time-management tool available to anyone with a Google account.
- Google Docs - an application that allows you to create documents (text, spreadsheets, or presentations) on a shared server location and then collaborate with others to edit them in real time."
- Google Sites – created for online team collaboration and allows for easy attachment and incorporation of documents, calendars, videos, and gadgets.
- GoogleBooks - offers users the opportunity to view and search the full content of books."
- iMacros - a record and playback tool for your browser.
- LibraryThing - a social website revolving around books that allows users to create online catalogs of their personal libraries, tagging and rating their books and making them available for others to view .
- Meebo - a free, web-based, instant messenger agreegator for all your IM buddy lists Picasa – a tool to organize, edit, and share your photos."
- Rollyo - a web tool that allows you to create your own custom search engine to add to your browser, webpage, or blog
- Slideshare – a community for sharing presentations.
- Splashup - a web application that performs basic editing of images through your web browser and even connects to a few of the more popular online communities to download, edit and post photos.
- Survey Monkey – enables users to easily create and customize professional looking online surveys and publish them online."
- Tag Galaxy - a mashup that searches and sorts the tagged images in Flickr and displays them on a multi-picture sphere."
- Talkshoe - allows anyone to easily create, join, or listen to live "TalkCasts," which can be interactive discussions, talkshows, conversations, podcasts or audioblogs.
- Technorati – tool for tracking and indexing blogs.
- Tumblr - a form of tumblelog which has come to mean a blog that is populated with many pictures, URL’s, videos etc.
- Voice Thread - an application that allows users to create interactive slide shows.
- Voki - a social Web site where you can create your own personalized animated avatars."
- Zotero - a Firefox add-on that allows you to collect and organize research material from within your web browser and cancan automatically extract bibliographic data from online catalogs, journal articles, and more.
Overview of Blogging
Description: A page on the wiki Classroom 2.0 that provides an overview of the concept of blogging, its uses in education, what blogging does for students and lots of links to blogging resources in education.
- Blogger – Google’s free blog publishing tool.
- TypePad – A popular blog platform that makes blogging simple. The service is no longer free.
- WordPress.com – A free hosted blogging service that allows you to start a blog without any technical knowledge.
Blog Search Engines
- Bloglines - A free online service for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content.
- BlogScope – An analysis and visualization tool for blogosphere that can assist the user in discovering interesting information from millions of blogs via a set of numerous unique features including popularity curves, identification of information bursts, related terms, and geographical search.
- Google Blog Search - A blog-only search service by Google.
- Technorati – One of the first and largest blog search engines that help bloggers to succeed by collecting, highlighting, and distributing the online global conversation. As of 2009, Technorati indexes 1.5 million new blog posts in real time.
Instant Messages, Voice, and Video Chat
Instant messaging and voice and video chat tools allow people to connect in real time over the internet.
A page on the wiki Classroom 2.0 that provides an overview of the concept of instant messaging (IM), its uses in education, and links to IM services.
Meebo – Can use one service to IM and chat with people on every major IM network in a single buddylist.
Voice and Chat
- Google Talk - A downloadable application for Windows that offers free PC-to-PC voice chat
- Skype – Free voice and video calls over the internet that operates on PCs and Macs
- iChat (Apple)
Microblogging is a combination of blogging with a 200 character limit and social networking.
Twitter in Plain English
Release date: March 5, 2008 : length 2:23
Description: A short video that explains twitter and microblogging. Commoncraft also has a video on Twitter Search In Plain English.
Twitter – A service that allows people to stay communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent text answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
Tumblr – Allows you to share text, photos, links, music and videos from your browser, phone, or email.
Mindmapping & Brainstorming
Technology has brought us new and engaging ways to "brainstorm."
bubbl.us – A free web-based brainstorming application that lets you create and share colorful mind maps.
Cmap – A concept mapping tool for educators that can handle complex ideas and is available in 17 languages.
Podcasts are a series of audio or video digital files that are released periodically and made available for listening and downloading. How can you use podcasts to help teach writing? How can you create podcasts on writing to help your students?
Tools for Making Audio Podcasts
- Audacity - A free and open source software for recording and editing sounds that is popular with academic podcasters
- Gabcast – This service allow you to make podcasts by calling in through your phone and then posting them to your blog or website and then a newsfeed is sent to alert subscribers to the new content. This service is no longer free.
Locations for Finding, Downloading and Listening to Podcasts
- iTunes U – "iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 100,000 educational audio and video files from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world."
- Tunes U audio and video Podcasts are only accessible to listen to and download through the iTunes Store. You must have the iTunes digital media player installed on your computer access these audio/video programs. To download the player for free, click here. To learn more about iTunes U, click here.
- There are no unique URLs for iTunes U podcasts. Therefore, to locate the podcast you will need to do a search within iTunes. A suggested search string (text used for searching) is provided for each iTunes U podcast.
- Odeo - Odeo is a website where you can find millions of MP3s and podcasts, which you can download and play from the siteor embed them on your blog and website (using a piece of code). You can also subscribe to your Odeo playlist with iTunes or RSS.
How to Record, Edit, and Promote a Podcast
This is written for nonprofit organizations, but the information is helpful to anyone--including educators--seeking to create their own podcasts.
Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a tool for publishing or monitoring frequently updated content such as blogs and news headlines.
Description: A page on the wiki Classroom 2.0 that begins with a short video from Commoncraft on "RSS in Plain English" and then presents uses of RSS in education, lesson plans, and links to RSS Feeds and Readers.
RSS for Education Description: Powerpoint slides from a presentation by Leonard Stern explaining RSS and its uses in education. Though a bit dated (published in 2006) it does provide a good survey of RSS uses in education.
Selective list of RSS readers – NOTE: Many of the newer browsers have RSS capability built in.
- Blogbridge – A free RSS reader that integrates well with delicious (social bookmarking) to help you manage news and collection information.
- Bloglines – A free web-based RSS reader and aggregator.
- Google Reader – A free web-based reader to aggregate and read all of your news abd blog feeds.
Easy Ways to Publish Your Own RSS Feeds
Social bookmarking is a way Internet users can store, organize, search, and share the pages they bookmark with others. The term was coined by social bookmarking company Delicious who pioneered the concept of online tagging that is the core of social bookmarking.
Description: A page on the wiki Classroom 2.0 that provides an overview of the concept of social bookmarking, its uses in education, lesson plans, and links to social bookmarking tools.
Selective list of social bookmarking tools
- Delicious – Allows an online user to keep and share online bookmarks using tags.
- Diigo – An onlne annotation tool that allows you to highlight, write notes, and share web pages.
- CiteULike – A service for managing and discovering scholarly resources online.
- Zotero – A Firefox extension that aids in collecting, managing and citing research sources found online.
Thirteen Tips for Effective Tagging
A service that brings together an online community of people who share similar interests.
Selective List of Social Networking Sites
- Facebook – A free social networking web site that was originally developed for college students to keep in touch but is now the most used social network worldwide.
- Ning – A free online platform for people to create their own social networks. Very popular in the k-12 education community. There is a Ning community on web 2.0 tools for education called Classroom 2.0
How can you find videos that will help you teach writing?
Google Video– Google Video is an index of videos available for viewing on the web from personal videos to TV shows, movie clips, music videos, and documentaries.
A wiki is a web site that enables group collaboration. Anyone can add and edit the content (note that you can create "private" wikis that are only available to specific users--e.g., to a group of students).
Wikis in Plain English
Release Date: 5/29/2007 : length 3:34.
Official Description: "A short introduction to wikis that illustrates how they can be used to organize a group's information, in this case, for a camping trip."
Wikiality - This segment from a July 30, 2006 "Colbert Report" from Comedy Central Comedy Central’s "Colbert Report"
Released: July 30, 2006 | length 4:10
Description – This video clip humorously exploits the credibility concerns regarding information posted on the massive online wiki encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Selective List of Wiki Applications
- Google Docs – A free, web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and form application by Google that allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.
- PBwiki – Free and easy to use wikis for the educational community.
How to create your own PBwiki in 5 minutes
Frequently asked questions on how to use PBwiki
- Vyew – Online collaboration and web conferencing service that is browser based and includes a rich set of tools that enable collaborators to work together on presentations, documents, audio/video, images, screen captures, desktop shares, and whiteboard annotations.
- Wikispaces – Their motto is "Wikis for everyone." A popular free wiki service in the educational community.
There are a variety of course management systems on the market today (e.g., Angel, Blackboard, Sakai, Moodle). Many of these tools can be used effectively to help students develop as writers. At Montclair State, we use Blackboard (currently, version 9.0), so we've focused this section on resources to help use Blackboard to teach writing.
Description: Community forum for discussing Blackboard use in courses, best practices, etc. Tips on Teaching with Blackboard - Thirteen Ways of Teaching with a Blackboard
Selected Blackboard tutorials from Blackboard.com
- Orientation to the Course Environment
- How to - Course Content / Add Content
- How to - Add Tools / Make Tools Available
- How to - Create Blogs
- How to Create Groups / Add Students
- How to Add a Column in the Grade Center
Blackboard 9 - Embedding You Tube Video
You Tube video, 2:09 min.
Blackboard 9 - Editing Group Sets
You Tube video, 2:21 min.
Blackboard How To Videos From SUNY New Paltz:
- Embed a YouTube video
- Create an eJournal
- Student use of eJournal with Faculty Comment
- Create a link for students to submit assignments
- Student Submitting an Assignment
- Retrieving a Submitted Assignment
- Retrieving ALL Files Submitted for an Assignment
- Anti-Plagiarism Using SafeAssign
Meet Blackboard 9