Following up from my post on Edmodo and the thought of using it for writing.

I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons of introducing word processing in the stages of writing as early as the drafting or editing stage.

My thought is that if students are required to use a word processor in the publishing stage why not get the students using it as early in the process as possible.

The way I imagine it working:

1. Note taking, information gathering, investigation.

2. Planning: Visual planner.

3. Drafting: Students onto the computers and writing their draft.

  • Once draft is done, digitally submit it through something like an Edmodo group.
  • Teacher reviews the piece, making notes and conferencing with student.

4. Editing: Students go back to their draft and make the changes suggested by teacher and changes they come up with themselves.

  • Again once they feel they have completed the editing phase they digitally submit it in exactly the same way.
  • Teacher reviews in the same way as the drafting phase.

5. Publishing: Students move to polish their piece of writing to produce as high a quality piece of writing as possible.

  • Students digitally submit again in the same way as previous.

*At every stage the teacher saves a copy of the writing to document the development.

I can see some negatives and obstacles:

Access to computers

If computers are limited, it may be possible to arrange timetable to have it so different classes are doing writing at different times so more computers are freed up. This is may be the hardest thing to overcome, either you have enough computers or you don’t.

Loss of handwriting practise

Beyond primary school students are going to be required to be proficient in word processing. I think it comes down to what is more valuable to the student, practise on a program like ‘Word’ & ‘Google docs’ or practise handwriting?

Use of spellchecker

I can understand the criticisms of spellchecker taking the thought out of spelling, but I feel if it is used properly there is merit in using it. Having students see the words spelt correctly and having to select the correct word when the options appear. May also instruct the students not to use the spellchecker in the draft & editing stages.

Students proficiency with the computers & at what level can something like this be implement?

Only use and practise will improve their skills. High school and beyond will require students to have these skills. If necessary or desirable you could give students the option of using the computers or handwriting. I’m also wondering at what age or level can student start to really get their teeth stuck into using tech?

I see it as being pretty hassle free. It would eliminate a lot of loose pieces of paper, no more different colour pieces of paper for different stages, no more stapling, no more filing, no more students losing their work, everything can be stored and kept on a hard drive.

EDIT 30/7/2011: I see the most benefit for the lower ability group for writing. For example the students that don’t like writing find it hard to write or struggle to spell and form cohesive sentences and paragraphs.

If the students can see the ‘red’ error line underneath the misspelt words and the ‘green’ line underneath the words or sentences that don’t make sense, hopefully they will be more likely to pick up what they are doing wrong.

With the spell checker, hopefully they will be able to identify what the correct spelt word looks like and can select the right option from the spell checker options.

How do apply the stages of writing?

When do you or think you should introduce word processing into the process?

I would love to hear any thoughts.