The Benefits of Online Publishing for Students

Instructor: Melissa Iturralde

Melissa is an elementary/middle school teacher and has a master's degree in educational leadership.

As you've probably noticed, kids these days are programmed to thrive off of publishing their thoughts on social media! They would much rather talk through a screen than face-to-face. This lesson will explain how publishing online can benefit students while giving them what they love and feel most comfortable with, TECHNOLOGY!

An Electronic World

Let's face it! Teaching students how to read and write isn't the same as it used to be. The good old pen and paper is now a laptop. Turning pages in a book is now clicking a button on a tablet or swiping it with your finger. Fill-in-the-bubble state tests are now becoming all electronic. Writing on a chalkboard is a thing of the past compared to utilizing a Smart Board. We are facing radical shifts in how our children learn, and we need to step it up in our instruction, too!

Ownership and Accountability

Without a copy machine, the ratio of teacher-student interaction is 1:1 for any given story or essay. Now take that same story, upload it online, and your ratio explodes. You have opened a doorway for many students to review each others' writing, teachers are relieved of being the ONLY ones to review work, and students are provided immediate feedback from peers. The fact that students' work will be reviewed by the masses, makes them work harder to produce something they can be proud of, which holds students accountable for their own work.

Students become actively engaged when their work is published because they like to see how their work stacks up against their classmates. The self-rewards are endless, and students naturally push themselves to do their very best. As writing becomes real, and not just another assignment for a grade, students are more apt to work harder. Ownership of learning takes place, and students push each other with positive peer pressure. This gives students a reason to write - to impress peers. Sorry teachers, but you can't compete with the opinions of classmates.

Improve Writing Skills through Collaboration

When students know their work is going to be published, they will become more conscientious of their writing skills. Pride steps in and the quality of work is stepped up. Not only do students work hard for themselves, they also get to help peers by working together to revise and edit their assignments or work together on one assignment. Seeing model writing is always a great way to try new techniques, and if a teacher fosters a strong community of writing in his or her classroom, students will learn from each other.

Over time, students will think like writers instead of students who just need to finish an assignment. Knowing that their work will be uploaded for a large audience to view, they will expect to hear criticism and celebration of their writing, and they will offer it, as well. Collaboration within a group of writers will also help them grow as writers. It's one thing for a teacher to show a class how to write. However, a whole new world opens up when students teach each other. As they learn, they get stronger. As they teach, they get even stronger, and true learning sticks. It is a win-win situation!

Free Publishing Sites

Students can start publishing their work via Microsoft Word or a similar application to practice their typing skills. Visiting websites designed to celebrate writing and to access feedback creates an excitement in a classroom. Students look forward to writing when they know it MATTERS.

Utilizing Google Docs via http://docs.google.com is a fantastic way to upload working documents for students to access. They can see each other's work to provide feedback, revising, and editing. Students can also work on the same document at the same time!

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