• Funded by: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Focus: English Language Arts
  • Project type: PC/Mac
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Writers agree: real writing happens in revision and is an iterative process. Yet as most educators will attest getting students, especially students that struggle with writing, to produce more than an initial draft is a constant struggle. GameDesk’s CollaboWrite helps to solve this problem, providing educators and students with a web-based platform for review, revision, and assessment that effectively models writing as an interactive process and dialogue between writer and audience.


Bringing Writing to Fruition

In CollaboWrite, the goal of writing and of reviewing is not to comply with a school assignment but to bring a writing project to fruition (i.e. to get the writing published and widely read). In fact, with CollaboWrite each student will consider himself/herself both a writer and reader/reviewer—understanding the value and importance of each role, investing in their writing projects and the projects of others. As publishing projects, writing is re-defined as an iterative and collaborative process formatively assessed by the students themselves during drafting.

As for the writing projects, they don’t die on the teacher’s desk. Instead, writing is made available to other students who can read and learn from the pieces, and also vote on them for inclusion on a bestsellers lists making writing, reviewing, and publication authentic, meaningful and rewarding for both writer and reviewer. CollaboWrite is designed for personalization: flexibly scheduled projects; evaluations conducted by those most familiar with the project; a wealth of usable assessment data on both writer and reviewer to help educators in their own assessments.

Tentative Features

  1. Educator/Student Accounts and Dashboard: CollaboWrite supports user accounts with two designations, educator.  Educators have administrative access and a control panel that lets them browse all existing projects and create and assign new projects. Students see what their writing projects are, what their review projects are, and sample essays.
  2. Editor Request: An optional feature that allows writers not assigned a specific editor to request one. This helps to build community and to support the partnership relationship between writer and editor
  3. Customizable Writing Project Templates: To help provide structure and accurate learning goals to writers and editors, each writing project is divided into sections. This allows them to define the text box sections where students will write or input writing.
  4. Teacher’s Tips: Writers click on the tips to reveal the educator’s guidance for writing and reviewing. Tips can be pulled from a general template or tailored to specific assignments; reviewers can respond to the project in a text box, providing a critical perspective on the piece.
  5. Reviewer Ratings: To incentivize quality reviewing, and to get students to view peer feedback as a valuable process, each tip response provided by a reviewer is rated by the writer for quality. This rating is available to the educator for assessment purposes.
  6. Iterative Projects: Projects begin as drafts, move through to manuscripts, and then finished as published projects. Each stage features unique feedback mechanisms and assessment processes, and the focus is on getting a piece right rather than plowing through toward a deadline and final grade.
  7. Formative Self-Assessment: Since writing projects emphasize iteration and adjustment, CollaboWrite creates a system of assessment that grows with the project, allowing running commentary and dialogue alongside a project, nurturing its growth.
  8. Bestsellers: To emphasize writing as a public act, and that all writing has an audience, students will “publish” their approved manuscripts. These projects will be viewable by all students and can be voted on, producing a “Bestsellers List” posted on all students’ dashboards.