I'm working on a doctorate in education, and my research focuses on potential uses of digital communication media (online discussions, blogs, wikis, etc.) in teaching writing. In particular, I am interested in how teachers of English language arts, humanities, or social studies might incorporate digital interactive writing into the writing process, such that online discussions might serve as a sort of pre-writing activity for essays, stories, or other written compositions to help students develop and articulate their ideas.

For example, students might use discussion forums to discuss debatable issues in preparation for persuasive essays on the same topics (which could potentially be published on blogs or wikis). Or they might use a blog post as a seed for an essay, inviting comments from other students to help them develop their ideas. Or they might begin to develop a story idea through an online chat in which they role-play characters in dialogue. Or they might use instant messaging to brainstorm subtopics for a class wiki involving collaborative research.

Has anyone used Web 2.0 media in this way with their students? If so, I'd be very interested to hear some of the details. If not, what do you think about such an approach? Many thanks in advance!

(For more on this topic, I invite you to check out my blog, Authorship 2.0.)

Tags: blogging, discussions, english, instantmessaging, socialstudies, wikis, writing

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This discussion is very helpful. I appreciate the posted resources and the description, since a colleague and I are creating a presentation on public writing online (http://writinginweb20.wetpaint.com/). I am learning a lot from your questions and the responses! You've mentioned that research is scarce--I agree, particularly in terms of more polished, academic writing (as opposed to research on blogs, discussions, chats etc). Do you know of any bibliographies posted online? I appreciate Richard Beach's wiki. It's helpful too.
There are a couple of teachers in my district who I've taught to use Wikis in their writing. One is a 3rd grade teacher, the other a high school teacher. In third grade the teacher creates a directory page with each students name as a link to a new page. The student then composes their writing in the new page. The teacher can make comments in the writing and it can also be used for peer editing. This is a really handy tool as most elementary students can't work on their writing at home because teachers are afraid they won't bring it back to school . The high school teacher starts in a similar way, only the students compose in Word, transfer to the Wiki, and then engage in peer editing. After the comments are made the student can go back to Word and do final editing. I hope these help.

Feel free to look at my students discussion forums - http://hewett.proboards99.com/
I use my blog in a multitude of ways with my students. I teach high school juniors (regular and accelerated levels).

At the beginning of the school year, students complete assignments called "Challenges". These are links to normal text (articles, videos, images, etc.) with a brief prompt and response requirements. Students read the text and respond to the prompt. The first nine-weeks, student email their responses to me; this moves to them posting online.

Shortly thereafter, students begin using the blog to interact with prompts directly related to literature being studied in class. The prompts for literature are "big picture" focus questions that are then options students can use for their final essay over the unit.

This year I will be branching farther into the blogging ideals by having students create their own websites with drafts and have other students respond to the drafts before owners convert the drafts into final drafts in a presentation section of their site.

Feel free to check out the site Mrs. G's World.
I am interested in the same thing as you, i.e., determining how Web 2.0 tools help or hinder the writing process in the online composition classroom. My focus is higher education. I know this sounds pedantic, and I am sure you have done extensive research into pedagogy, what little there is of it for Web 2.0 teaching.

Perhaps we can help each other out a bit. I teach composition at a community college, and I am re-designing all of my f-2-f courses to accommodate more Web 2.0 tools in writing. Since my classes are presently f-2-f, I'll keep integrating Web 2.0 tools; however, my first thought is that these as yet untested tools need a pedagogical framework, in addition to some kind of best practices framework before institutions take their writing programs online. I've done Master's level research into this, and come up with some foundation.

Please let me know what you think a good starting point for work between us would be, and I'll go from there.


Hi Marielle,

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I am very interested in your research. I am seeing some hesitation from our administrators and board about allowing social networking, blogging, wikis, etc in the classroom. I am trying to find the best research that supports a very strong connection between web 2.0 tools and real world learnign gains. The proof is in the research I assume - what have you found?
Scott, In three years my students' blog has had 35,000 unique visits--that's a HECK of a lot of writing and reflection for 40 fifth through seventh grade kiddos.
I have not but our school has software called Angel that all students have an account. On this account we blog, write assignments, have a dropbox, and so on. It is very nice as the kids are able to have access at home.
Thanks for sharing the info and thoughts. Web 2.0 media is being popular among teaching institutions. A online tutoring company http://tutorskingdom.com/ uses this one and other modern teaching practices according to the nature and specific requirements of students.
I use blogs with my English language students to work on a paragraph of contrast. If you would like to read more details, please visit my blog http://pjgalien.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/using-blogs-with-students/
Hi Marielle,
I too am working on a doctorate in education. My research interest is in how tools like Classroom 2.0, new media and social networking can support teachers in using theses kinds of tools. I am in the beginning stages of my dissertation now. I am not yet collecting any kind of data.

I'm very interested in how teachers use this site and others like it. Do they learn new things they can apply in their teaching? How do they use collaboration with peers and students? Which Web 2.0 tools do they use as a result of being part of this site or similar sites?

How can we use these kinds of social networking sites as part of professional development- formally or informally?

I hope you are having success with gathering information.

Join me at my blog at Moving Forward- Teaching and Learning in a Digital World.



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