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Writing Tools & Technology-Rich Learning

How can word processing help students become better writers?

Why are word processors so popular?

What kinds of activities word well for a word processor?

boy writingWriting is one of the most popular activities on the computer. People write email, hold chats, discuss ideas on forums, and use a word processor. Teachers like using the computer and a word processor for teaching the writing process.

eye for essential readingRead Creativity Resources: Writing Tools to learn about the tools that are available and how to select these tools.

Read Tools for Writing: Word Processing. This page outlines ideas for word processing.

Many teachers are combining computer software and online sharing. For example, check out the essay's by Mr. Vincent's Fifth Grade called "What D.A.R.E. Means to Me". Notice that the page also links to another class and the DARE website.

Hardware and Software

Computers are generally shipped with an easy-to-use writing tool such as SimpleText or Notepad. Most computers also have a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Appleworks. Many people do much of their writing in email packages or on discussion forums through the Internet.

Some writing tools are available online. Many websites encourage students to use their services to post book reviews, reports, and other kinds of projects.

Go to Crunch: Showoff or Crunch: Arts Review from NCES. Students can do their writing in a word processor, then submit their project for publication. Brainstorm ways you could use this type of sharing website.

Technology Integration

Students need basic keyboarding skills be be successful at writing on the computer. The key to success is practice. The more students write, the better they get.

Read The Impact of Electronic Communication on Writing by Mardziah Hayati Abdullah (ERIC Digest, EDO-CS-03-09, December 2003).

Try It

Go to Tools for Writing: Word Processing to learn about tools for working with authentic data and information. Try some of the activities.

Go to the Tom Snyder at Scholoastic website and download the trial version of Diary Maker. Or, check out one of their other writing tools.


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