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by TeachThought Staff
Why should students publish their writing?
While there are some pitfalls we will get to, there are many benefits to having students publish their writing. It allows them to share their work with a wider audience, receive feedback from others, and improve their writing skills.
Publishing also gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment. Seeing their work published in some way, shape, or form can motivate them to keep writing and improve their craft.
How Can Students Publish Their Writing?
There are a number of ways to publish student writing, such as through online platforms, student newspapers, or literary magazines. Whatever the method, publishing provides students with an excellent opportunity to learn and grow as writers. There are many different ways for students to publish their writing. Some students may choose to submit their work to a school newspaper or literary magazine, while others may prefer to share their work online.
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In short, if students take the time to proofread, edit and get feedback on their writing, they will be more likely to produce a high-quality piece of writing that they can be proud of.
Mistakes To Avoid When Students Publish Their Writing
When students publish their writing, there are a few potential mistakes that should be considered.
More than anything, student safety, and privacy are the areas teachers and students together need to navigate. The same applies to adult writing, really. Before sharing a thought on facebook or twitter, one should ask, ‘Is this an idea worth sharing with others? How does this thought represent my best thinking? Who I am? How will this thought affect those I am sharing it with?’ When children are sharing their ideas (in this case, their writing) with the general public. Their privacy and general safety–physical and digital–should be thoughtfully considered.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, a writing assignment should be designed from the beginning to be shared within or outside the classroom. The audience and purpose can inform whether or not the writing should be published and if so, how and where. Publishing a typical writing assignment without an authentic need or purpose isn’t our best thinking as educators.
Tools To Help Students Publish Their Writing
There are a number of different tools that can help students publish their writing. Some of these tools are online, while others can be ‘published’ offline.
To reiterate, before publishing any assignment, three things should be considered: privacy, authenticity, and format. Publishing should risk a child’s safety or privacy. The assignment should be designed to be published. And finally, the right publishing tool should be matched to that writing assignment.
With that in mind, here are some tools that can help students publish their writing.
What does PDF stand for? PDF is a portal document file–a way of digitally ‘printing’ writing so that it can be shared while retaining features that may be specific to a tool used to create it. For example, a specific font could be used in a word processor that doesn’t exist in another tool used to open that file. By creating a PDF file, it retains all text features when opened and read with other apps and tools.
Wondershare PDFelement is one of the most feature-packed PDF tools available. As a tool used in a classroom, Wondershare PDFelement allows teachers and students to read PDF files, annotate them (in a ‘marking the text’ activity, for example), edit, or combine them for a range of use cases.
If ‘publishing student writing’ means sharing writing—including annotated writing—on a small scale, PDF tools like Wondershare PDFelement can be a perfect fit.
Storybird is a great tool for students to publish their writing. It’s easy to use and has a lot of features that make it simple and fun for students to use. While not free, Storybird claims it is used by over 9 million members in 800,000 classrooms.
Publish Drive or Lulu
If you actually want students to create a ‘real book’ to be professionally published, tools like Publish Drive and Lulu may be good fits for your students (likely in a high school or university-level classroom).
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Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are perfect for sharing short pieces or excerpts from longer works if available access and privacy tools are implemented. For better or for worse, students can reach a global audience with just a few clicks.
Google Docs or Microsoft Word
There are a number of offline tools that can be used to help students publish their writing locally to a school, classmates, or other ‘closed circuit’ where access is granted on an individual basis. One of the most popular offline tools is, obviously, Microsoft Word while Google Docs is a free word-processing program that offers students an easy way to create and share documents with classmates or teachers.
Google Slides or Slideshare
While not long-form writing, presentations take the micro-writing approach, useful for struggling or hesitant writers in addition to accomplished writers being challenged to condense their long-form ideas into presentation form.
In the right circumstance, Medium is a great way for students to share their writing with a wider audience. It’s easy to use and has a built-in community of readers and writers.
Substack allows independent publishers–students, for example–to publish writing and podcasts while monetizing them as well. It’s not traditionally thought of or used in the classroom, but as we’ve clarified with all the tools here, in the right fit, it’s an excellent way to publish student writing.
One online tool that can be very helpful for students is an online publishing platform–or content management system–like WordPress or WordPress.com. These platforms make it easy for students to create and manage their own blogs or website.
They also provide a wide range of features and plugins that can be used to further customize the site. For most students, however, this is beyond their needs and would primarily be used in something like project-based learning scenario where a student will be, with teacher or parent support, blogging about a topic on an ongoing basis for a real-world audience .
Not a traditional publishing platform, Quora is a question-and-answer tool where a student could do one or the other: ask or answer questions. Groups can also be created to discuss specific topics over time.