Product Review: Boomwriter

5/28/2013 6:20:00 PM
By David Kapuler

Product Title:  BoomWriter (http://www.boomwriter.com/)

Retail Price: Free (cost of a published book $9.99)

BoomWriter is a free and engaging group-writing tool that lets students go online to create stories and other content that can then be converted into published books. This site is ideal for grades 3-12 and lets students develop their reading, writing and assessment skills as they create and share stories, while also assessing the work of their peers. Teachers can use written content from by the site to provide instruction before moving on to the content that their own students have generated collaboratively. School Districts throughout the world are using BoomWriter’s project-based learning platform to challenge students and increase their love of learning in a fun and innovative way.

Ease of Use                   
BoomWriter is very easy for teachers to use, and it’s safe for children as all stories are created in a closed digital environment where students’ creativity can flourish. Plus, teachers can go online, monitor their students’ progress, and provide helpful individualized feedback and instruction from anywhere. BoomWriter is extremely intuitive, and it offers simple tips and a screencast walkthrough to help teachers create and oversee projects. There’s even an Educational Blog that acts like a Q/A forum for those seeking help. Of course, one can email BoomWriter and expect a response within 24 hours.

Creative Use of Technology       
This is where BoomWriter really shines, with its innovative, collaborative way to create digital stories. BoomWriter works using a simple process with a technology twist. The teacher selects a “story start” from a menu of well-written first chapters (or creates his or her own), and the students each write what they think should be the next chapter. Teachers review the submissions online, before allowing the students to read and vote on the anonymous chapter that they would like to see included as the next part of the story. Boomwriter has developed an easily managed voting system that fairly determines the winning chapter while not requiring students to read all of their peers’ pieces. This process continues until the story is completed, as determined by the teacher. Once finished, the story can be published and a physical copy of a book can be ordered from the site. These books make a terrific end product to BoomWriter’s fun and educational learning process.

Students also have the ability to create their own “Boomer” or avatar and earn participation Boomer Bucks allowing them to upgrade and accessorize their character. This is just another way to get students excited and motivated for using the BoomWriter platform.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment
BoomWriter is ideal to use within (and beyond) the school setting as a highly motivating instructional tool. BoomWriter is easy to access on the Web, and it’s CiPA compliant. A teacher can sign up free of charge and then easily create student accounts. This is ideal to ensure student safety, especially for those who do not have a student email account. BoomWriter is strongly aligned with the Common Core’s Literature Standards, and it also serves as an innovative way to let students write imagined personal narrative pieces or even work collaboratively to write arguments to support claims. BoomWriter’s flexible platform can be used effectively in a broad number of settings within schools.

OVERALL RATING
BoomWriter is a fantastic site that teachers and students alike will love using. Teachers will love it because it’s free, easy to use, and engages students to optimize their learning. Students will love the kid-friendly look and feel of BoomWriter, as well as using technology to create and share stories with classmates.

Top features:

  1. Engaging – Uses a competitive process to motivate students while they collaborate to create new content
  2. Effective – Project-based learning tool offering various opportunities throughout for teachers to provide effective whole class and individualized instruction
  3. Ease of use – Site was designed with the teachers' needs in mind. It’s extremely easy to set up and manage these projects. 

David Kapuler is an educational consultant with more than 10 years of experience working in the K-12 environment. For more information about his work, contact him at dkapuler@gmail.com and read his blog at cyber-kap.blogspot.com 

 

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