13 Ways Technology Can Improve Student Writing

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As an Edudemic reader, you are well versed in the importance of technology in education. But are you aware of the specific role it can play in writing? Take a look at the findings of a recent study:

  • 96% of participants agreed technology allows students to share their writing with a wider, more diverse audience.
  • 79% of participants claimed digital tools encourage greater collaboration.
  • 50% of participants said it was easier to improve student writing with the use of technology.

Let’s take a look at 13 specific technological tools that can enhance students’ learning, performance, and efficiency in writing. If you’re lucky, you might even get them to enjoy the process too!

Utilizing Scoring Engines

Free up valuable time in the classroom by using a scoring engine for writing. These programs automatically grade compositions and provide instantaneous feedback.

  1. Criterion Online Writing Evaluation – This web-based writing tool is instructor-led. It will help students plan, organize, and write their essays. With immediate, detailed feedback, students can easily revise their work too.
  2. GradeMark – This program allows instructors to provide five different types of feedback:
    • a. The originality check reduces plagiarism and copied content.
    • b. The QuickMark Sets allow teachers to quickly drag comments (both pre-loaded and custom-made) to the appropriate place on the paper.
    • c. The voice comments allow for personalized audio feedback.
    • d. The grading rubrics help students understand clear expectations. Teachers can utilize pre-loaded rubrics or design their own.
    • e. The general comments section encourages instructors to provide broad, general feedback on the overall quality of the composition.
  3. My Access! – This award-winning cloud-based program includes over 1,500 writing topics in math, science, language arts, and social studies. After creating a composition, the program provides instant feedback in five categories: Focus and Meaning; Content and Development; Organization; Language Use, Voice, and Style; and Mechanics and Conventions.

Incorporating Writing Aids

Sometimes, all students need is a little guidance and encouragement. Here are two writing aids that can help make the process more efficient and entertaining.

  1. Odyssey Writer – Teachers will appreciate the fact that Odyssey Writer makes the composition process more efficient. Students will appreciate that it makes writing fun! Odyssey Writer uses popular techniques (like stream of consciousness writing, outlines, note cards and graphic organizers) to navigate the student through the four phases of writing.
  2. StoryBird – This program is a great way for creative students to express their thoughts more efficiently. It helps students create short, art-inspired stories that can be published and shared with others.

Appreciating Apps

In this day and age, technology is all about the apps. Fortunately, there is a beautiful relationship happening in the app stores; it involves education, writing, students, and technology.

  1. Evernote – Evernote is one of the most versatile apps ever created. It can be used by just about anyone in just about any situation – and students in a classroom are no exception. This mind-mapping app is a great tool for successfully navigating the writing process. Students can use it to take notes, store audio files and photos, track the progress of assignments, sort research findings and much more. Once all this information is amassed, students can easily find what they are looking for with a keyword or tag search.
  2. Day! – The Best Story of Mine – Like Evernote, Day! helps students track their thoughts and observations as they proceed through the writing process. It will appeal to a student’s creative side with personalized photo calendars, mood expression, and more.
  3. Popplet – This app can be introduced at a young age and help student throughout the course of their educational career. This mind mapping and story planning app helps students visualize where their composition is going. They can document their ideas, sort them visually and then collaborate with others.
  4. Dragon Dictation – Help students understand that writing is nothing more than communicating. Encourage young writers to speak their text into this audio transcribing app. As they speak, students can see their text. Not only is this process faster than typing, it also helps students overcome the fear of a blank page.
  5. Toontastic – Toontastic is like putting on a puppet show – only way cooler! Elementary and middle school students can draw and animate cartoons. Then, they can set their creations into motion and include an audio soundtrack. This visual creation is a great addition to written compositions.
  6. ABC Cursive – It is important to remember that mastering the writing process starts early. The most basic skills, like learning cursive writing, are essential for laying a solid foundation. Even the youngest students can benefit from technology with this app. It helps youngsters practice writing their letters, numbers, words and eventually sentences.
  7. iCanWrite – Again, writing fundamentals begin at an early age. If students can’t write their letters, they can’t write their essay! Kindergarten and first grade teachers can use this app to help their students learn to write letters. When one letter has been successfully traced, the next will appear.
  8. Sentence Builder – After mastering the ability to create letters, students will quickly need to learn to create sentences. This app helps students build grammatically correct sentences. With 3 different levels and 100 pictures to build sentences around, students will quickly catch on to essential grammar lessons. The learning process is enhanced with audio reinforcement and progress statistics.

Many educators are using technology in a general way to guide learning in their classroom. However, it can also be used to instruct specific skills – like writing. Use these technological tools to enhance the students’ interest, understanding and involvement with the writing process.

Do you know of any tech tools we left off the list? Let us know! We want to hear how you are using technology to improve students’ writing!

1 Comment

  1. Elaine Smallbones

    January 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    How abut a list of android apps and tools? It would be helpful when apps are dvertised to say whethrr they are iOs or android.great ideas. Thnk you.

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