I just discovered a great online writing tool after looking through the Decoding Learning Report a list of 150 ICT based innovations. BoomWriter is a tool that allows students to write, share, read and evaluate each others work. A great video anf blog on the tool can be found at iLearn Technology. It is a tool that allows students to work with others to learn while being fully engage individually.
One of the best points that I like about BoomWriter is that is allows students to work at their own level encouraging strong students to produce their best work while at the same time providing reluctant writers to bounce of the ideas of others. This resonates with me as a writer I was always the student that struggled to come up with ideas to write about. I remember having a writing task set in school and watching others around me start writing furiously while I sat there wondering what on earth to write about. Looking back now I can see that this caused me a lot of stress and anxiety towards writing and was an unhelpful process. Overall I think it slowly built a belief in me that I simply was not good at writing and never would be. This is great knowledge for me to have as a teacher to help in understanding that the learning tasks that I set up for my students must be carefully thought out so as to encourage a successful learning mindset rather than an unsuccessful one.
I really like BoomWriter as a creative writing tool. However I would probably split the class up into smaller groups depending on the class size so their are not too many chapters for students to read through and evaluate. However I would need to give it a go and experiment with how best to use it. I also like the idea of giving the same start chapter/topic to both groups and see what different stories the students come back with. Overall I think BoomWriter would be a fun, engaging activity full of great learning opportunities.