Avondale Middle School Seventh-Graders Explore New Digital Writing Tool

School selected to pilot innovative writing platform

Avondale Middle School students have a unique opportunity to expand and sharpen their writing skills while piloting the digital writing platform, Write About. The writing program, developed by educators wanting to broaden and simplify the task of online publishing for student assignments, is being piloted in the District beginning with Avondale’s seventh-grade students.

Digital writing is fast becoming a valuable teaching tool as it incorporates traditional writing lessons into an activity that engages students in development of 21st century skill building including developing proficiency with the tools of technology; building relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally; designing and sharing information for global communities; and creating, critiquing, analyzing and evaluating text.

Avondale Middle School students collaborate on use of online writing platform

Avondale Middle School students collaborate on use of online writing platform

“Digital writing is much more collaborative than pen and paper composition which is typically a one-person undertaking,” said Carmen Kennedy, Avondale School District Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “Digital writing is also accessible so students have the opportunity to share their work with their classmates, allowing for the open exchange of ideas and observation.”

Avondale Middle School seventh-grade teacher, Shavonne Jacobson, who was instrumental in bringing the pilot to her colleagues, likes the opportunity students will have to write for each other. “When students write for their peers and they have an authentic and engaging online platform, their voices become more compelling and insightful.”

Seventh grade student, Que’ Jari Jones agrees with his teacher. “Knowing that my friends will see what I’m writing makes me want to write better. Knowing that my friends will see what I’m thinking makes me open my mind.” Jones – known to his friends as Que’- is excited to be using technology in most of his classes – including English Language Arts, “when teachers connect technology to what we’re doing in school it makes it better.”

Several Write About features set the program apart from other digital writing platforms including: hundreds of visual writing prompts organized by genre and topics; supplemental materials and a student guide designed to complement classroom instruction; tools for teachers to provide private feedback; peer editing discourse stems and self-editing checklists; publishing options that allow students to publish to the world, to their classmates or to their teacher; and opportunity for sharing and commenting and access to comment stems if the students need help.

When Que’ becomes an elementary school teacher – which is his goal – he might care about the Write About features but for now what he likes most is that it’s fun which goes right along with the Write About creators’ dictum: Writing should be fun and sharing should be easy.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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