notebook ipadThing8 is about how digital tools for writing can be used for teaching and learning.

With digital tools for writing you and your students can write, collaborate, get or give feedback, make presentations, share and publish writing from anywhere with an internet connection.  You can use them in the classroom, and to support you professionally.

Digital Tools for Writing can be used

… as a teaching tool to:

  • to engage reluctant writers
  • to support anywhere, anytime learning – write on a document at home or school.
  • a variety of writing experiences for authentic audiences or purposes.
  • connect with the wider lives of students, by engaging the support of their families, whānau, and communities.
  • help students with special needs with assistive technologies such as speech recognition software. (such as Dragon in the Explore Further section below).
  • add feedback and feedforward using comment features.
  • scaffold students with resources and templates (we’ll find these in Thing8).
  • facilitate collaboration in class and beyond (coming up in Thing 14).

…to support you in your Professional Practice

  • For your planning and student assessment tracking, so you can easily access, update and keep track of this data (and from from more than one device).
  • To share documents with colleagues and give school leaders access to them.
  • To collaborate with other teachers and edit documents at the same time (even from different locations).

Examples in Practice

These video examples use GoogleDocs (which we used in Thing6) however the concepts apply to all platforms.

Improving boys writing using GoogleDocs

Raising student writing levels using GoogleDocs

Software For Learning – Google Apps has links to videos showing how some schools are using Google Apps in the classroom.

Different Uses of Google Apps with Education in Mind is a presentation with some great ideas for the classroom.

Enabling tohutō (macrons)

 Tohutō (macrons) are the you see above lines above some vowels in te reo Māori. Find out how to use them in Core Education’s informative blog.

try-this-iconTry this

For this Thing choose one of the digital tools for writing you used with a cloud platform (in Thing6) or else one of the apps for other digital writing tools, in the Explore Further section below, then post to your blog about:

  • The digital writing tool e.g. Google Docs or Dragon etc.
  • What you see as the advantages and disadvantages of teaching using this tool.
  • How you could use it in when you are teaching or to support you professionally?

explore-further-iconExplore further

Voice Typing:

In Google Docs, you can “type with your voiceHere are instructions.  This works on iPads or desktop using a Chrome browser.

Microsoft’s Learning Tools for OneNote has a dictation feature which types what you say. It can also read text back to you!  In Dyslexia Apps 2016, Dyslexia Advantage shares why Microsoft’s Learning Tools for OneNote was their first Top Dyslexia App of 2016.  Some ideas for how to use Learning  Tools for OneNote in the classroom are here. 

Other digital writing tools that teachers are using:

zoho An alternative to Microsoft 365 and GoogleDocs.
google-story-builder A collaborative writing tool where you can add music and watch a video of their writing process. No login required.
dragon-dictation A voice recognition application so students speak and can instantly see the text.
storybird A collaborative storytelling tool which uses collections of art to inspire writing.
junior-writer Word banks and word games like CopyCopy, Hangman and Scrabble.
Students are the author and illustrator. They can create books and share them.
story-wheel Students spin a wheel on the app,  land on an image and record their voice as they make up a story with that image.

20 Web-Based Writing Tools You May Not Know About from Global Digital Citizen Foundation share some web-based writing tools categorised editing, writing and brainstorming.

CALL Scotland (The University of Edinburgh) have put together a list of Ipad Apps and Android Apps to support students with dyslexia tendencies with their writing.

 Managing and Tracking

One of the challenges using digital tools for writing is managing and keeping track of your students work.  Google Classroom and Hapara Dashboard can be used with Google Accounts. OneNote Class Notebook can be used with Microsoft 365 accounts.  (We’ll talk about these in Thing12.).


Parts of this Thing were adapted from 23 Things for Research Oxford / CC By-NC-SA 3.0

Header image: Sean MacEntee / Flickr / CC By-2.0
Icons: Everaldo Coelho and YellowIcon / GNU Lesser General Public License

This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

23 Teaching Things has been written by Lucie Lindsay and Bronwyn Edmunds at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work.

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