6 November 2015

Writing - The Space Between

Autumn may be regarded as a space between. A space where learners and teachers often find themselves, unknowingly at times, in the quest to make meaning. We play with words, we play with phrases, we play with writing. For writing is always a journey into meaning making. 

And in a twist of perception, we may regard writing today as a space between. 

As a foreign language teacher, I teach writing skills according to one pre-set of academic writing formulations. What I often read, is a space in between cultures and languages, a space between learning, adapting, finding a voice within foreign concepts of what constitutes academic writing. 

Hence my question (again and again and again), why not reach out and offer writing students options which are at once contemporary and relevant to their digital generation? This is not to say that there is no longer value in hand written work; nor do I claim that only the digital will aid learners. What I am saying, is that there are alternatives.  Digital writing, writing digitally,  becomes a space between, between worlds and generational practices and rituals, a space between where writing support, engagement and discovery may be sparked. Here are some suggestions to explore that digital space of writing. 

ilys  helps those who may be going through that phase when writing does not come easy; one can keep one's writing private or public. The most important, is that one keeps on writing. 

Not entirely free, it is worth having an institution consider this tool for students or their institutional writing centres where students could log on and write. 

November, and a writing month has already begun (one that I have already mentioned here).

Even if you are not specifically teaching writing skills, why not focus more closely on writing skills, so having students in varying degrees also participate actively in a month reflecting on digital writing ?

This may be done through story-telling, focusing on vocabulary and even on editing skills (a skill that is often left disregarded and which students need to practice).

Quill  was developed for writing and grammar practice among middle and high school learners and is easy adaptable to the ELT classroom as well.

Hemingway App helps with editing,  while for younger learners, Word Creativity Kit  is a user friendly app to encourage writing.

Although I usually refer to apps and digital tools which are free, today's suggestions are not all free. Nevertheless, there may often be support within an institution and it is always worth asking for this support for the benefit of students.
Create Outstanding Writers is another tool, which not free, is currently offering a free trial until August 2016.

There is no lack of digital spaces for learners, no lack of tools and apps.

It is a question of deciding which is most appropriate and engaging for learners within specific contexts.

The space between.


The quest to make meaning, to make sense of the spaces between the world which surrounds one, the worlds one inhabits. The languages and cultures one flows through.

My worlds are open, fluid, transparent and borderless.

My world is the space between.

How will you be participating in a month of digital writing and discoveries?

Beau Lotto – Understanding Perception: How We Experience the Meaning We Create from Lazy Chief on Vimeo.

Further Suggestions:

Digital Inclusion: It’s Not All or Nothing

15 Best New Writing Apps You've Never Heard of

78 Tools for Writing and Previewing Markdown

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