Friday, 30 January 2015

Getting students engaged in The International Writing Exchange

Week 4 is about to start at The International Writing Exchange EVO15. We are beyond mid-session now, and are about to discuss on tools to get students motivated and engaged in and out of the class in writing.

As one of the co-moderators of the IWE EVO15 session, I'd like to share with all the international writing exchangers my proposal for Week 4:

Organising and contributing to a cultural collaborative piece of writing

A cultural collaborative piece of writing is an easy way to have students learn vocabulary, foster cultural awareness and interact with international peers to chain write. When chain writing, the teacher begins the story or you may set up class teams and one student begins the chain, let’s say, for instance, student A. Student B in continues the chain, student C continues where B stopped, and so on.  
The students have to read each other’s bits and understand them so that the written chain makes sense, flows and becomes meaningful.
For this activity, you can use a wide range of digital online tools that will help your students and yourself organise and contribute to the cultural collaborative piece of writing. Among those tools, for this example, I have chosen Padlet. This tool allows you to click on a web wall and add text, images, videos, pictures; or include web links, or even take instant pictures with your webcams.

View the video tutorial below about how to start with Padlet:

Here you are several examples of chain writing accomplished by teachers working in teams in Spain, who worked on collaborative writing as part of a Digital Storytelling online training course:
Running Out of Time: Team A, Team B, Team C, Team D
The Princess in Pyjamas: Team A, Team B, Team C, Team D
Another kind of didactic application for chain writing as a means to foster cultural awareness is to produce collaborative poetry about the students’ home country and share it with other students worldwide. This was the primary aim of the TWIMA World Poetry project, a collaborative writing initiative taking place in 2014, in which for 4 months, students and teachers worldwide introduced their home country, customs and traditions in poems which later became an iBook, now ready to download from iTunes for free.
Check below some chain poems about Spain, written in collaboration by several teams of teachers, and which were included in the final iBook ‘The World is My Audience’ by the end of 2014:
How to assess chain writing
Of course, it will depend on each teacher’s needs and goals, but feedback and assessment must never be forgotten in a writing activity of this type.
Besides peer and self-assessment, rubrics are quite sensible tools for assessing chain writing activities. Here you are two rubrics which you can use when assessing contributing to chain writing assignments or when evaluating organising assignments of the kind.

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  1. Great idea:) I'd only used Google Docs for stuff like this before but always enjoy learning about new tools. The extra functions are great.



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