How to Teach Writing Using Technology
Integrate Tech into Your Writing Instruction
In order to prepare students for what will be expected of them in higher education and the workplace, K-12 learning design should be reflective of the 21st century environment. This means integrating technology into instructional areas that may not have seen extensive tech integration in the past. When students join the workforce, they’ll be expected to leverage digital tools to enhance and guide the work they produce — and we have an opportunity to provide them with plenty of practice in the classroom.
One subject that’s often overlooked for digital integration in instruction is the English Language Arts class — specifically in the area of writing instruction. Crafting an essay in a digital document isn’t enough to make a significant difference from completing the task with pencil and paper. There are plenty of tools, strategies, and activities for K-12 instruction that can prepare students for the types of writing work they’ll be producing outside of the classroom. Here are a few of our favorite ways to teach writing using technology:
Integrate Social Media into Instruction
It’s no secret that social media is a central part of many students’ lives, a tool for many businesses, and a large societal influencer. While educators have mixed feelings about its presence in the classroom, many are considering ways to embrace it, and leverage it as a tool for student learning. If you’re looking to integrate social media into instruction, consider using it as a way to teach writing using technology — after all, it’s possible that your students will be using social media at one point in their lives for a purpose related to learning or job skills, and the short, concise writing style it demands allows for practice in brevity and clarity. For inspiration, see this article from EdSurge.
Make Student Work Visible in the “Real World”
Pending your school’s privacy practices and your students’ comfort levels, explore how you can leverage technology to place student work in the “real world.” When writing in the workplace, students will find themselves with an audience perhaps much larger than a teacher, and you can provide them with time to practice that visibility in the classroom now. Having an audience can also make the work feel more relevant for students. Try setting up a classroom blog, where students can communicate with other writers, or even a classroom podcast, like this teacher did. Technology allows for greater connectivity and can function as a platform to make student voices heard — so consider how you can use technology to teach writing while also teaching digital citizenship or self-advocacy.
Offer Opportunities for Multimedia Projects
In the workplace, tasks involving writing — or argument construction, communication, and other related areas — will rarely involve only text. Students will be expected to convey information using a variety of tools, mediums, and channels. You can use technology to teach writing by giving students the opportunity to experiment with the tools and methods they’ll use to communicate in the workplace by assigning alternatives to essay writing. For inspiration, check out this list of ways to use tools like virtual reality, video, and digital timelines in writing instruction.
Use Adaptive Technology to Reach Every Student
In recent years, we’ve seen an advancement in the development of technologies that can support instruction in grammar, syntax, and even writing style. While it’s important to integrate technology into writing instruction to foster creativity, argumentative skills, and digital literacy, there’s also an opportunity to leverage technology to personalize the basics of writing instruction. The most powerful opportunities lie in adaptive technologies, the best of which can evaluate what a student knows, needs to know, and is ready to learn next. For an example of how you can use adaptive technology to teach writing, and for a deep-dive into the research behind the technology, see: