Friday, January 30, 2009
Reflections on word processing and collaborative writing tools in EFL
I have never used collaborative writing tools before, I even was unaware of them. So now it is my first try.I have not thought about using word processing in a class and these activities are new for me. Some of them are not necessary for my students as I work at a technical university and there is no need to teach them word processing, in fact, they know computer much better than I. But I found some tasks that I can adapt with my students- these are narrative and descriptive writing, different types of letters ( Vance Stevens). In general I think grammar and vocabulary exercises together with word processing are interesting for young school children and can replace traditional workbooks.For example, I jumble up words in sentences or sentences in paragraphs. Or order of instructions. Or paragraphs within an essay. And then ask students to unjumble these, again using dragging or cutting or pasting.» I think this an interesting task that would very well work with my studentsAs far as word processing tools for collaborative writing are concerned I think they are wonderful for project works. We do with students project works when they study a topic in small groups, write together a summary and present to the whole group. Such work can be organized with Google Docs (for example). First, students may generate ideas, share them, make a plan, then write each point of the plan simultaneously without need to type, compare in class, retype. I think about another way to use it in my class. When we get ready to FCE there is a task to describe a picture and comment your partner description. For more practice and more accurate speech it can be a home writing task. I need to divide the group into pairs, post a picture for them to describe and comment collaboratively. Other colleagues opinions are here.