Whether your program has access to laptops or tablets for one-to-one use with its students, or if you have a Smart Board from which to show Powerpoint presentations, or if your students are ready to create their own class blog, integrating technology in the writing process can propel your students' engagement in writing to new heights. According to the George Lucas Educational Foundation's website for educators, Edutopia, "Effective tech integration changes classroom dynamics, encouraging student-centered project-based learning." Properly planned and supported technology integration in reading and writing-rich classrooms be particularly effective with struggling readers and writers.
Below are some entry points and methods for integrating technology with writing.
Strategic use of word processors' spelling and grammar checkers (requires explicit instruction)
Text to speech software (think Dragon and Google translate) allows for the text to be read back to the writer
PUBLISHING Use a Word Processor (like MS Word or Google Docs)
Quick Writes: Use this strategy at the beginning, in the middle, or a the end of class. Give students 3-5 minutes to respond to a writing prompt about the reading or topic you are discussing. Have your students save their digital notes/entries in their Google Drive or in Dropbox.
Editing and Revising Activity: Type up a paragraph or two about the text you are reading or the topic you are discussing and make strategic and targeted mistakes (i.e., comma use or rearranging text so it makes better sense or flows better). Email it to your students or have them download it from your class blog or website. Review the grammatical rules that need to be focused on and then assign them with the task of editing and revising the text independently or with a partner.
Use Power Point (or Google Slides or Prezi) With the Common Core, students will need to become expert in the elements of argument, explanation, and storytelling. However, many adult learners struggle with writing and need a lot of scaffolding before writing. Consider using PPT to help your learners understand the necessary elements of a genre. They can use this as a tool that will help them organize their thoughts, only requires a minimal amount of writing, and students can incorporate images as well.
The tool Google Slides is discussed below in the section titled Google Drive.
Create and Use Blogs (free tools such as Google Sites, Wordpress.com, Wix.com, or Weebly.com) You and your students can use these free and easy-to-use tools to create a class website/blog/wiki or have each student create his or her own. This is an excellent opportunity for students to meaningfully "share" or "publish" their writing, an essential step in the writing process. The previous Adolescent Literacy Program website created by Shannon Allen was made with Google Sites. This current version was made by Kevin J. Dotson using Weebly. Website creation tech advances rapidly, so there is a wealth of free online web development tools available, all with varying degrees of ease and accessibility, and all with templates that students can customize to fit their design needs.
Below is a Wordpress tutorial video found on YouTube
Google Drive Google tools can help teachers get students engaged in collaborative writing and peer review in and out of the classroom. Use Docs or the Slides tools to get students writing collaboratively in real time. You can also us these tools to give students feedback on their written work digitally. You and your students will need Google accounts to use this service.