I always say that I can talk about a tool "until I'm blue in the face," but I never know its impact until I see it in action being used by students. This happened the other day. I was walking past a classroom between classes and asked a teacher if I could come in ."They're not using --- (the tool I had shown the students months ago), they're just using Google Docs to write a story in pairs." I told the teacher that I always enjoy seeing how the kids are using technology, so, if it was okay, I'd still like to sit in.
|Looking forward sometimes means looking backward|
What happened from that moment on was priceless.
Of course, there were comments about not being able to spell, so the partner kept an eye out for spelling errors. There was the time when Student B was watching what Student A typed and realizing that they needed a synonym. Then, in another pair, Student A noted that the word they chose wasn't the right word. Let’s try… However, it was the fact that they were taking the plot seriously, while enjoying the process, that took my breath away. As Student B read what Student A was typing, Student B began to elaborate on the story. Then, Student A began to question Student A about the characters, plot, and setting.
- How about if we…
- Is that really we want to happen?
- Maybe the character is ….
- Student A: I want to say something about… Student B begins typing a transitional phrase to introduce the plot twist.
- I'm making this up on the spot here…
- Student B: In real life, would he really do that? Student A: This isn't real life!
I continued to watch and take it all in. About three quarters of the way through the class, the teacher started telling pairs of students to return to what they had written and find the points at which a new paragraph should begin -- and press Enter. Then, each student was told to take responsibility for multiple paragraphs and begin to add detail. There was not a single moan or groan in the room! They began to add detail.
Did you notice what I just typed? They had to make revisions. They had to expand upon their writing. They had to edit. And they didn't complain.
Although on the surface, it didn't seem like a big deal, it was. These students were realizing the promise of technology in the writing process. Some were even having fun doing it.