Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Write Online?

In his recent English Journal article, "Real-World Writing: Making Purpose and Audience Matter," Grant Wiggins elaborates on why creating authentic audiences for student writers can have such a significant impact on student writing. When creating online writing opportunities, keep the following in mind:

Ensure that students have to write for real audiences and purposes, not just the teacher in response to generic prompts.

Authentic Assessment Demands:
  • Engaging and worthy tasks of importance
  • Faithful representation of the contexts
  • Nonroutine and multistage tasks -real problems
  • Tasks that require the student to produce a quality product
  • Transparent or demystified criteria and standards
"Real writers are trying to make a difference, find their true audience, and cause some result in that readership," writes Grant. "...the point is to open the mind or heart of a real audience - cause a fuss, achieve a feeling, start some thinking. In other words, what few young writers learn is that there are consequences for succeeding or failing as a real writer."

Further Resources/Research on Creating Authentic Audiences:
In thinking about how to use online tools to connect students with authentic audiences, I put together this resource page. I'll be using as part of an upcoming session on how wikis, Nings, and Google Docs could be used in the classroom to foster such creative collaboration and writing for authentic audiences. I'll also be introducing a number of sites that teachers can use to connect with other classrooms around the world - TiGed, CILC, ePals, and People to People International.

You can join this session virtually on Tuesday, May 18th as I will be broadcasting it live via my UStream channel. More information and times to come.
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