iPadifying the Writing Workshop – Part 1

Note: This is the first in a series, iPadifying the Writing Workshop.


“One of my students,” shared the 5th grade teacher whom I was interviewing for a podcast, “has trouble filling up the page. He just can’t do it. It’s too much. But, when writing on the iPad, using the on-screen keyboard, he can. He can type a few words at a time in the small space and pretty soon, he’s written a page. That’s amazing.” This may also be true for dyslexic readers who find the confines of the small screen comforting (read the transcript of this NPR broadcast).


Small screens can be inviting and there is no reason why, given the ubiquity of iPads in some school systems, that students can’t draw and color by hand, snap a photo with an iPad, then app-smash that image of their handwriting, drawing into another app like 30HandsLearning (make videos of handwriting), ExplainEverything (blend handwriting with video), or better yet, BookCreator (mix it all in).


Furthermore, there are many apps that one can write with; here are some of my favorites:
  1. eNotebook (Free) – This is a free app that integrates with Evernote and makes it quite easy to organize notes into notebooks.
  2. Penultimate (Free) – An app designed for note-taking that integrates into Evernote.
  3. AudioNote ($4.99) – This is one of my favorite apps for note-taking since you can record audio and take notes with a keyboard OR by hand.
  4. Kids’ Journal (Free) – For younger students, this app may work well.
While publishing student writing online fundamentally hooks students as writers, as teachers, we can take advantage of available tools to make our jobs easier. In this article, we’ll explore 5 ways that the iPad can enhance, or, “iPadify,” the writing workshop as commonly taught in schools.


iPadifying Writing Workshop Facilitation
Here are a few ways we can iPadify a teacher’s facilitation of the writing workshop. You will have to find your own workflow, figuring out what the best path is for you. These suggestions may help you along the way and are organized into 5 categories:


  1. Aim for Engagement
  2. Make App Smashing a Daily Act of Creation
  3. Re-imagine Elements of Writing Workshop
  4. Facilitate Online Conversations about Student Writing
  5. Offer feedback in audio or video, rather than written, format

Remember, the iPad is one of the most versatile pieces of technology. Don’t limit your thinking to the act of writing on paper. Writing has jumped from one technology to another many a time. If we were traditionalists, we might be scratching out words on stone tablets, on papyrus, rather than fingers dancing with electrons and glass.

Note: This is the first in a multi-part series – check back for the rest over the next few days!


Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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