One challenge in writing a textbook on technology integration is knowing when to stop including things. You do not want to drift into areas covered in other courses (e.g., Methods) or to extend your comments beyond your areas of expertise. Of course, you also want to include enough information that what you do write leaves learners with enough guidance that they feel they can act on the information provided.
One of our core recommendations has long been a modification of writing across the curriculum or writing to learn we have labelled authoring to learn. We extend the area of writing to learn in to include approaches that involve multimedia authoring. We contend such recommendations are concrete, efficient, and thoroughly researched as a strategy that lends itself to various implementations of project based learning.
In our most recent edition, we explore the role online tools such as Google docs offer in developing writing skills and applying writing to learn strategies. A key component of effective instruction in either area is the revision process – writing is an iterative process that moves toward a higher quality product and a deeper level of understanding when revision is emphasized. A reality associated with such benefits is the time intensive nature of supporting revision. Ideally (although some might question the use of this superlative), teacher review and guidance would offer the best approach. However, heavy use of writing to learn tasks would also place what might be unrealistic demands on teacher time. Peer editing may offer the solution. In addition to the advantage of a division of labor, peer editing should offer a way to develop editing skills. Improvement in editing skill not only would benefit peers, but would also the writing skills of the “editor”.
Our content on this topic already reviewed the challenges of developing skilled peer editors and provided references both supporting this approach and identifying issues that can occur when peer editors are “turned loose” without preparation and training. Our suggestions for how to support editors offered general guidelines, but did not provide specific examples. This is the issue of straying into the area of methods courses and limitations in our own personal experiences we mentioned earlier.
I have finally located a resource that offers the kind of concrete suggestions to explain the general guidelines we provided. This is a lesson from the ReadWriteThink site. The PowerPoint that can be downloaded gives very specific suggestions for what young editors should do in reacting to the work of their peers.