Online tool to support K12 creative writing through reuse and composition with social media
American teens continue to fall short of national writing standards, often claiming school writing is too challenging and that they have nothing interesting to say. However, teens constantly and enthusiastically immerse themselves in text-based digital communication via text messaging, email, and social media. While such activities are, in fact, writing, research indicates that teens instead view them as simply "communication" or "being social." With this in mind, Sparfolio is an effort to create and implement technology that infuses school writing with the aspects of social media that teens find so appealing and engaging. The intent is to demystify writing by illuminating students' natural storytelling abilities, ultimately improving the quality of their writing.
Current work includes user-centered inquiry through interviews, focus groups, workshops, and participatory design sessions with both teachers and students, aimed at exploring the design space and developing a rationale for Social Media Based Writing technology. This work will inform the development of an online environment to support K-12 student writing, which will aid students in generating personally relevant writing topic ideas and will allow students to share writing with a peer audience for feedback and discussion. Through iterative design and writing-performance-based evaluation, the objective was to develop a tool that is deployable in K-12 classrooms and embeddable in existing writing curricula.
The resulting tool, Sparkfolio, is now in deployment with 90 K12 students to evaluate the approach of leveraging personal multimedia as a support for creative composition in curricular contexts