Although the question posed by an article in EdTech Magazine was, “Can Technology Help Students Become Better Writers?” a much more compelling question is, “How are teachers using technology to help students become better writers?”
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the National Writing Project, technology is used to teach writing by the use of wikis, websites, blogs, interactive whiteboards and various tools to help students edit their own work and review the work of others.
Missing from this list are a number of key elements for effective writing instructional programs. The use of technology in writing instruction should also address:
- how to motivate students to become engaged in the writing process.
- how to develop the all-important skill of writing fluency (i.e. the ease with which a writer is able to generate ideas and put them into words.)
- how to develop original ideas and think critically.
- how to give students feedback on their writing so that they can become self-regulating learners.
- how to cater writing assignments to individual needs.
All of these elements have been key in the development of the writing app COW. Our goal is to provide educators with a practical and effective tool that enhances writing programs with the use of technology.