Friday, January 20, 2012

Digital tools class, Week 2

Writing tools
A selection of what was provided (I didn't have time to look at everything!)

Creative writing tools 
Creative writing prompts - a site providing thought provoking questions to stimulate writing. Could equally be used for discussion. For me they could be expecially useful in the journalism classes, but less applicable with my business students although with some guidance they could be used to highlight the different registers used for different types of writing.

Zooburst - a site to create 3D pop-up books that can have information attached to them. I think this would be an excellent site for young learners but I am not sure if my business adults would be so enthusiastic about it. They would prefer to work with Prezi I think. 

Oh life - this site sends you an email each day asking you how your day was which you reply to with a story about your day. You will end up with a collection of stories similar to diary entries posing as a chronical of your day to day life. I see how this is a useful tool but don't think that my students are commited enough to use it! I think I could have more success with this (which actually reminds you to write each day) than with the likes of  Penzu  where students would have to remember to write. I am not sure if there is a function to make diaries collaborative, but students could email their stories to me every two weeks for checking and comments.

Storybird - Create stories using pictures and words. The pictures are big and look great on your screen, and there are lots of already made stories which could be used in class. Again I see lots of potential here for younger learners and teen learners, but I am not sure that my business people would be so impressed. Unfortunately creative writing isn't something that we usually focus on in our business courses, where if there is a focus on writing it is a focus on using the correct register for different types of texts. Nice site just for a play though!

Collaborative writing tools
GoogleDocs - I already use this extensively for work and sometimes in class. Love it. I hadn't though about doing writing using other forms, but one of the group participants has set up a collaborative writing exercise using powerpoint (so that you can add pictures). What a fantastic idea! With my classes we could write collaborative business reports... using an imaginary business that we explore all parts of (marketing, sales, accounting, risk etc) to creat one massive report that is a summary of our entire business course! - a really easy to use brainstorming site. I have used 'visio' from the MS Office collection before for flow charts and brainstorming and I find this tool infinitely easier. I am not sure if it is collaborative  - that would make it really powerful for revision of ideas studies in class. These images are easy to export and could then be used in a collaborative ppt such as suggested above.

MixedInk - I had a look at this site and it looks useful if you are managing multiple projects and classes. I haven't got my head completely around it yet, and for my needs Google Docs are probably sophisticated enough (I am not managing big classes of students or significant numbers of projects). 

Writeboard - this is a simpler tool than MixedInk. It also leaves a diary of who has comtributed what which is one of the weaknesses of using Google Docs in the classroom as a collaborative writing tool.

Entri - another simple collaborative writing tool that I like because it leaves a log of the different versions fdown the right hand side of the page. For straight collaborative writing this would be the tool I would choose.

Although writing is rarely a focus in my classroom, there are tools here that could be used for homework (I am thinking of students using smartphones on the metro) to improve register and foster more collaboration in and out of the classroom. Thanks ClassDigitools for all the ideas!


  1. Wonderful review! Thank you very much!

  2. Dear Karen,

    What a wonderful summary of the tools we've explored this week. Great that you can apply what you've seen around to your own context.

  3. Dear Karen
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!

    1. Great review Karen. If you allow me, I'd like to publish it in my blog (

  4. Hi all, thanks for stopping by! Obviously, these reflections apply directly to my reality (in service business students in small groups), but I am happy that you find them useful. No problem with sharing either - collaboration is what it is all about.