One of my biggest blocks as a writer is a constant need to go back and revise my writing. As I write, I am faced with the urge to go back to change this word or tweak that phrase, but I often lose track of the revisions I've made. Add in the desire to get feedback, and the writing process can easily grind to a halt for me, just as it does for many of our students. That's where Draft, a straight-forward, online word processor available at www.draftin.com, can help. Draft focuses on revision and collaboration with quick, easy-to-use tools for tracking your writing over time and sharing it with others to get feedback. Students can use Draft to compare multiple versions of their paper to self-assess their progress, share their writing with their peers and teachers, and even use the collaborative tools to assess their revision skills.
For more information about how Draft can be used in the classroom, please click on read more below.
As a writing tool, Draft allows students to easily store multiple drafts of their work over time then compare the drafts side-by-side. Revisions between the different versions are highlighted, which allows the student to reflect on the changes and think critically about their writing process. The teacher can also take advantage of these drafts to assess the students' thinking by questioning their revisions.
As a collaboration tool, Draft allows the student to request feedback from anyone just by entering an email address. The collaborator is sent a link to view the paper and can make comments or suggest changes. The suggestions are sent back to the student, who can then accept or ignore them one by one.
As an assessment tool, the teacher can use the collaborative tools to monitor and give feedback to each student as they work on their writing. Draft can also be used to assess students' revision skills by reversing the writer and collaborator roles. In this situation, the teacher creates a document with some text for the students to revise. The document is shared with the students, who then edit it and submit their revisions to the teacher for assessment.
Draft does have some drawbacks. The interface, while minimal and efficient, might be difficult for younger students to use. The formatting options in Draft are somewhat limited, so students' work may have to be transferred to another program, such as Microsoft Word, for additional formatting. To help with this process, there are a number of options for exporting documents. Also, Draft requires students to have an email address, which may be a problem for some students. However, these issues can be worked around with a little preparation.
Enhancing 21st Century Learning
Draft is a great tool for encouraging students to think critically about the writing process. By having them view multiple versions of their writing simultaneously and asking them to reflect on how their writing changed as it was revised, the students can become more self-aware of their writing styles and grow as writers. Additionally, by taking the next step to share their writing and provide feedback to their peers, the students learn how to work collaboratively together and how to give and receive effective feedback.
Post by: Tony Harman | High School Instructional Coach
This will be a resource built by the staff for the staff to encourage integration of 21st century skills into every student's learning.