Taroudant, Morocco - To enhance the effectiveness of teaching writing, teachers have to implement ICT tools into their curricula and use them effectively in securing students’ motivation and positive interaction in addition to providing new ways to teach writing (First part)
Taroudant, Morocco – To enhance the effectiveness of teaching writing, teachers have to implement ICT tools into their curricula and use them effectively in securing students’ motivation and positive interaction in addition to providing new ways to teach writing (First part)
The internet-based tools:
The internet provides nearly unlimited sources and facilities for educational purposes. A simple search will bring abundant useful tools and programs for innovative ways and methods to teach writing. However, we are going to focus on the easiest and practical ICT tools, and how to use them effectively in teaching writing. We will have to limit our study to emails, blogs and social media.
Email is one of the most frequently used and interesting ICT tool in our time. Nearly all students have personal emails that they use to communicate with their relatives and friends. Before starting any email-based project, teachers need to be sure that all the learners are aware of the different kinds of language forms used in emails.
Basic skills, especially communication and technical skills are perquisite before any attempts to carry on an email-based project. Students need to know that different levels of formality are to be taken into consideration when they want to write an email. The use of formal or informal language is determined by the correspondent. Students also are required to know basic skills of emailing such as attaching files, sending to multiple recipients and exploit the various options provided the email editing.
Apart from being a useful means of communication between teachers and students, and between students themselves, email can be utilized to enhance teaching writing through different activities and practices.
Email can be used as a good tool to help students develop the habit of writing. In order for students to come up with a good piece of composition, they need to identify the person they write to and always put the readers before their eyes. Email, as an authentic tool, helps the writer engage in a real-like conversation, in addition to the editing options it offers to the users.
Email also provides the option of spelling and grammar-check, which make the writer aware of the mistakes. Students can send their last draft to their teacher and classmates to get instant feedback. Thanks to emails, all students of the same class can be engaged in a collaborative work; for example, they can develop a story together. The teacher may suggest a topic and send it to the first student who will develop the topic by adding an idea and forward it to another student. The process may continue until the story is fully constructed with the collaboration of all the students supervised by their teacher. The importance of this tool is that it helps students learn and practice writing outside the classroom in a fun and collaborative way.
Blogs are great ICT tools set up by individuals or groups of people to provide a significant platform for exchanging ideas and interacting with other learners and instructors.
A blog is a Web publishing tool that allows authors to quickly and easily self-publish text, artwork and links to other contents.
Since blogs require minimum technical knowledge and are quickly and easily created and maintained, they can be used to involve students with writing activities in various ways. They can also be used motivate students to write their own stories, especially those who are shy to participate in the classroom activities.
Blogs provide a space where teachers and students can work collaboratively to further develop writing skills. Teachers can offer instructional tips and students can practice and benefit from peer review and teacher’s guidelines.
Among the writing activities that can be done through blogs are reporting, keeping an online diary, posting comments and writing about topics suggested by the teacher. A teacher may encourage their students to actively participate in blogging with respect to policies set forth in advance with all students. The teacher may ask their students to sum up all the important elements that were previously discussed in the classroom and write them in a coherent and cohesive paragraph, provide a review of a movie that the teacher may post in the blog, or describe a picture or a poster.
There are many free blogging tools available, but one of the best is Blogger at www.blogger.com, which is very practical and easy to use.
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