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Medium.com as a platform for writing in schools

Medium as a platform for writing in schools

How original. A first post on Medium, all about Medium. I think every time I use a new platform I end up discussing the platform itself. Nevermind, why break the habit of a lifetime!

As so often when exploring a new tool online my thoughts drift to if/how it could be used in school. We’re always looking for ways to develop the literacy skills of our students and writing online is well known to have an impact. Particularly for some of our key groups such as boys.

Anything that makes publishing online a simple joy has got to have potential. Existing blogging interfaces aren’t a big hinderance to most young learners, but the writing interface I’m using here is really something else in it’s simplicity. 

Combine the wonderful interface (or lack thereof) with the ability to collaborate before publishing, and I’m excited. Young writers could invite their teacher to collaborate with them before publishing, or better still invite a peer to assist in proof reading before they hit publish.

Some might call me a kill-joy but the inability to change the format of the fonts could also be a godsend. I know learners like to personalise the look of their sites when using Blogger or something similar, but they frequently produce something slightly lurid!

Once published the comments or ‘notes’ should be fantastic for continuing the conversation, but also for peer and teacher assessment. Being able to do this paragraph by paragraph is great and the comments can be kept private if the writer wishes.

Requiring a Twitter account, and then waiting for permission to publish will probably KO this idea for the time being. Although an increasing majority of my students have Twitter accounts, that’s not the case for them all. Requiring them to sign up for a social network won’t go down with well with a minority of parents.

I’m also intrigued by the long term plans for Medium. It feels almost curated at the moment, with lots of high quality writing. I’ll be interested to see how it feels when/if the floodgates open.

Are there any other educators on here yet? What are your thoughts? Has anyone used this with their students? Sometimes we’re guilty of trying to twist a tool designed for something else into something that works in the classroom, but in this case I think this could be a match made in heaven.

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