Monday, October 7, 2013

Two: iPadify the Writer's Process #ipad #edtech #ec3ta13 #writing

Note: Welcome to this new series on the iPad to transform how we approach writing in the classroom (or anywhere)! In this new series, the focus is on 6 actions you can take to iPadify the Writer's Process. Yes, that's right. TheWriter's process. Maybe we've gone a bit astray with our focus on the writing process. As a writer, what do you do? That's what this series focuses on. 
By the way, if you haven't read the previous series, iPadifying the Writing Workshop, you'll definitely want to in this convenient post that combines all the sections into one. 

Action #2 - iPadifying Drafting
“Just get your ideas down; you can sort them out later.” Often drafting is described as a way to get at the first draft, rough-shaping the ideas like a ceramic pot on the wheel. Your first draft also enables you to have something in written form that others can remark on and provide the feedback you need to move ahead.

For young writers, drafting can be terrifying...where do you start? That’s what makes pre-writing all the more important for them. But once they are ready to write, what are some approaches that take advantage of the iPad? And, for those that only have access to an iPad at school, but a computer at home, what can they do so they can continue working uninterrupted at home? After all, we don’t want students to start drafting at school then finish at home, unless they can move seamlessly from one to the other. That’s why most of my first drafts end up in an online environment, something like GoogleDocs or Evernote. Of course, younger students may only have access to GoogleDocs (not Evernote due to Terms of Service).

The GoogleDocs compose window is fairly simple and straightforward, and has the added benefit of being accessible from anywhere. For example, I wrote this piece, Remembrance on my iPad using the on-screen keyboard:

On a bright sunny day, as I wandered from yard to yard, a yellow-breasted songbird sang for me. He perched on a branch high near the top of a mango tree. As I peered upward, squinting at the where he might be, I dug out a rock from the pocket of my jeans, full of holes and holy in a way I couldn't have imagined when I put them on this morning. They hung a bit long, the back end wrapped in the heel of my dirty sneakers. The slingshot, that I unwrapped from my other pocket and unwound the rubber bands. With a light heart, I carefully placed the pebble in the leather...the sling...then, pulled back in a motion so casual, I held my breath imagining by how far I would miss the songbird that made today so pretty.

Re-reading my incomplete draft, I can certainly see errors that I’ll want to clean up. I’ve also deviated a bit from my map, but I like this starting point. As I wrote in GoogleDocs, I found myself focusing more on what I had to say and less about all the other features (which are hidden when you’re writing via Safari to GoogleDocs). It may seem incredibly obvious transition, but encourage writers to switch to a plain text editor or feature-free writing tool. Writing and procrastination go hand-in-hand.

In addition to the aforementioned, other tools

You can easily drop content into GoogleDrive or Dropbox with Write-box, which is a web-based text editor that works in your iPad’s Safari browser.

Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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