Selecting Writing Software: A Guide for Curriculum and Tech Coordinators
Improving student writing performance at your school or district is incredibly important. But choosing the best writing tools isn’t simple. The education technology cosmos is full of products vying for your attention. With so many options—how do you decide which is the best writing tool to introduce to your enthusiastic educators?
Consider the following questions to help you select the writing tool that works best for your staff, students, and school.
What do we want the students in our school or district to learn?
With any decision about educational technology, the primary consideration should be improving student learning. What do we want the students to learn, and how can we help them learn it?
Writing is a process with many components, so consider which aspects of this process your students need to focus on. Do you want students to concentrate on improving prewriting or drafting skills? Editing? Revision?
Do students need to improve their rhetoric, logic, or critical thinking? Do they need to practice citations? Improve grammar/standard conventions? Are they reaching the stage where research and argumentation are paramount?
Identify which learning outcomes and areas of improvements matter most, and find a writing tool that will help students achieve mastery.
Students can get help during any stage of the writing process with WriteLab. The tool is particularly effective for helping students revise, edit, and proof their work. Students can have the app analyze their draft again and again until they’re ready to submit their final work.
What value should the tool/app bring to our teachers?
A great classroom tool should also provide value to the teachers in your school or district. Teachers today are busier than ever before, so it’s important to find a tool that saves time rather than consuming it.
Can teachers create classes and manage courses effectively through the tools you’re considering? Can the tool help teachers check for plagiarism? Provide feedback? Does it give teachers insight into common errors or global writing issues? Does it help teachers assist students with the writing process? Does it require teachers to input content? Does it only work with predefined content?
The right tool for your teachers should provide valuable and time-saving assistance in the classroom.
WriteLab provides feedback in four areas of writing: Concision, Clarity, Logic, and Grammar. Teachers can easily create a course in the app. From there, they invite students, create assignments, and give feedback on student’s work alongside WriteLab’s analysis. With WriteLab providing sentence-level insights to students, teachers save time on working with errors and spend more time helping students improve other essential elements of their writing. WriteLab also doesn't require teachers to create content. Moreover, it doesn't need predefined content to work. Any writing, at any time, can be analyzed by WriteLab!
Is there a collaborative learning process?
Research shows that active, engaging collaborative experiences lead to deeper learning. It’s a good idea to find a writing tool that offers opportunities for students and teachers to collaborate.
How do students and teachers interact through this tool? Are opportunities for peer interaction and feedback provided? How is the learning process facilitated within the tool or app? Does the tool address nuances in writing?
Students can significantly improve their writing and deepen their understanding of the writing process by using a tool that provides collaborative learning experiences.
Students can share their work with their teachers, peers, and writing center tutors in WriteLab. By working with others and WriteLab’s feedback—discussing changes, leaving comments, and pondering larger global issues with their writing—students become more confident in their revisions and overall writing skills.
Can educators visualize important writing data?
In districts across the country, teachers are encouraged to use student data to drive instruction. With information about student strengths and weaknesses, teachers can develop a better understanding of what their students need and how to fulfill these needs. Determine which of your favorite writing tools provide useful data to teachers.
What data matters most to our teachers? Does the writing tool provide this type of data? What do the analytics look like? Is the data provided by this tool easy to understand and use?
A tool that gathers useful data for your teachers can help them make the best possible choices about writing instruction in the classroom, positively impacting your students and their writing abilities.
The analytics in WriteLab provide teachers with comprehensive information about student progress across multiple drafts and assignments. Teachers can also easily create and customize graphs filtered by student, writing area, how students respond to comments, and by student progress across assignments. Learn more about WriteLab’s Analytics.
Will the tool improve student writing and the writing process?
What are the potential results? Of course, you want to purchase a tool that is going to produce positive results for student writing in your school or district.
How does the collaborative learning process influence student writing? What’s the feedback like from the system and the teacher? How can students learn on their own? Are there studies or reviews indicating that this tool truly works?
The most effective tool should help enhance student writing while making the writing process at your school or district flow more smoothly.
Learn more about WriteLab’s efficacy data from an Ashford University Pilot.
Who else can use the tool/app?
You should also consider the purpose of the tool/app. Who is it designed for? Can tutors use this tool? What about writing centers?
If the writing tool is also used by writing centers and writing tutors, it’s a good sign that the tool is helpful and effective.
Anyone can use WriteLab. It is also a great tool to use for both asynchronous and synchronous learning in writing centers.
What’s the setup and integrations like?
Another important consideration is if the tool can be easily integrated into the technology already used by your school or district.
Will the setup be simple and easy or a giant headache? Is the app browser-based? Is there LMS and API integration? Single sign-on? SIS?
Search for a tool that is easy to use, set up, and integrate with the technology and resources available to you.
Can it work with our budget?
No matter how fantastic a writing tool is, it isn’t right for you if it doesn’t fit your budget.
Is it affordable? Do they customize licenses? Is there a viable freemium option?
Find a writing tool that is not only helpful and effective but also affordable.
Learn more about WriteLab’s Pricing Plans and contact us today.