Friday, January 29, 2010

Successful Peer-Editing

Peer-editing has always been difficult for my students. Without constant direction and supervision, peer-editing often turns into chatting about everything BUT student writing. This year I used a wonderful site to get my students excited about this part of the writing process, and, happily, I found some additional benefits as well. Voicethread is a collaborative, interactive site which uses images, audio, and text to create a multi-media slide show. Students can, for instance, record themselves reading their essays, complement them with images and music, then upload them to the site. Once uploaded, any number of "peer-editors" can view the VoiceThread and comment on them (either by recorded voice or typed text). One nice feature of this site is that users upload pictures of themselves, and when they make comments the text balloons seem to come right from their mouths. Voicethread can be 100% controlled by the teacher. There is a free version as well as a moderately-priced subscription version.

How can you use Voicethread in your classroom?

1. Students can publish their writing on the site. One beautiful side-effect of having my students record themselves reading their work is that they WILLINGLY edited over and over to "get it right" before posting.

2. Students can peer-edit others' work.

3. Students can "publish" a work-in-progress and invite others to comment and collaborate, offering ideas and suggestions.

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