Have you ever heard that unhappy groan, seen the eye-roll of despair and then again, the sigh of resignation when the word "writing" is mentioned in class? How many ways can you unleash the resistance to writing?
Frostwriter may not provide all the answers, however, it is worth introducing with a writing task.
Frostwriter is a minimalist writing website accompanied by music. The writer chooses the theme he/she wants - whether a light-hearted summer tune or inspirational or even dark and gloomy.
For free, creative writing in the classroom, this is fun to use; students can select the mood they wish to write with and as they are not listening to their own playlist (which may be in a different language and so not always helpful to focus), the background screen and tune may help to keep them focused when writing.
There is little interference with Frostwriter. No uploading of videos or images. With a clear focus on writing, the writer only needs to download and save it when finished:
"Frost is the world’s first one-of-a-kind word processing website which allows you to write without any distractions. Our mission is simple - minimalistic writing. Most of the normal word processors interfere with your writing via a plethora of tools, editing options, menu bars, unnecessary customization, etc. We have avoided all of that and let you write freely in one single font. "
I don't know how long Frostwriter may end up
being available online as so many websites tend come and go, whether through lack of funding to maintain them or simply because something else has become more popular, and therefore more viable.
For now, Frostwriter is free and if students are using a digital device in classes, it may be another approach to making writing less daunting and a bit more engaging, instead of a blank sheet in Word.
On another note, when using such tools/websites, learners may then reflect on whether or not it has helped them when writing or not, deciding on the pros and cons of such a writing tool. As our demographics change, educational practices need to change as well. Perhaps not all digital tools enable learning. Perhaps some do not always meet one's perceptions of pedagogical practices. Perhaps opening more doors of inquiry with learners themselves is necessary.
How do you unlock the fear of writing with your learners?