Writing Together: Online Synchronous Collaboration in Middle School
The authors showcase the use of DocuViz, an information visualization tool, as a means to support middle school students’ online synchronous collaborative writing. The purpose of this study was to explore writing outcomes when students write in groups and independently. Providing students with a tool to help them understand their individual contributions to a collaboratively written Google Doc may be one reason why group-written essays were significantly longer and received significantly higher rubric scores when compared with the independently written essays. Results also indicated that group writing had a positive impact on later independent essay writing. Student survey results reflect positive reactions to online collaborative writing. The authors conclude with a discussion of the theoretical contributions that this study makes to New Literacies Studies and provide guidelines for teachers interested in supporting students’ writing development through technology-enhanced strategies that position students as partners in the writing process.