Teachers have no shortage of writing ideas for their classes and are always on the hunt to make things more clear for their students. Many, however, continue to have documents written with MS Word, printed out, and handed in to the teacher. These days, we need to carefully consider whether that is the best way to develop writing skills.
While there is certainly a place for good old-fashioned writing, today I want to look at incorporating the social aspects of writing. To some teachers “above a certain age,” the idea of having your written work out there for all the world to see at the click of a button is still a novelty, but to our students, it’s more and more a part of the native experience, and the idea of having their work visible for the world is about as exciting as watching paint dry.
Still, I’m excited about it because of all of the possibilities it implies for teaching now and in the future.
Many plug-and-play writing platforms exist, and I’ll be happy to explore more of them in the future, but for today I’d like to focus on one of the platforms that is making it so easy to publish online: Medium.com
Medium requires that you sign in via Twitter or Facebook (I’d recommend you have your kids use Twitter) and you are instantly ready to start writing.
The true beauty of Medium is the ability to leave notes via your Social Media account, and to choose whether those notes are private or public. Imagine you’ve got a student who wrote a great story with a really creative narrative, but whose writing is full of structural problems. Depending on the aims of the lesson, you might choose to publicly praise the creativity so that others can see and understand what you’re looking for, while you privately critique the grammatical errors that you want fixed, but don’t need to point out to others.
With Medium, it’s easy to keep track of your students’ writing as everything is public and directly connected to their twitter account.
Is Medium a match for your class? Let me know in the comments below, or if you have a different preferred platform, tell me why it’s better! We can all learn together by sharing!