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“Watch me writing!”
A real-time digital L2 writing process
Filipe W. de Souza
Product Manager | EF eLab
EF Digital Learnin...
I hope you will…

1. Understand the context and
experience that digital
native L2 students in China
bring to the language
...
Our students today are
digital natives,
multi-taskers, and
efficient problem
solvers.
We need to understand
their world when we
teach writing and
especially when we
assess writing.
Communication tools of digital natives
However…

We often ask students to
‘prove’ themselves (their
learned knowledge) in
ways that can be
completely strange to
...
How many times have
you, as a
teacher, assessed a
student’s writing based
on a snapshot of the
writing process?
A snapshot of writing
• What is the development
story this essay has to tell?
• What problems did the
writer have to solve...
Writing is a process;
learning how to write
means learning a process.
If we teach writing as a
process, why do we
assess it as a product?
Writing…
is informed,
is connected,
is a process,
is a problem-solving activity,
is reflective,
is highly recursive (not l...
Why research the writing process?
“Studying what it is our students do in their writing,
we can learn from them what they ...
Then, how does digital writing happen?
How do students inform their writing?
How do they use connected resources?
What doe...
If we want to teach
writing to digital natives,
then wouldn’t it be
helpful to observe a
digital writing process in
real-t...
Preliminary study
– L2 (+ language learning)
– Writing (+ reading)
– Digital
– Connected
– Real-time
– Academic (+ argumen...
Preliminary study
– Participant
•
•
•
•
•

University student (in South China)
High-intermediate English skills course.
So...
Preliminary study
– Preliminary interview
What do you enjoy about writing in English?

– “I enjoy writing in English itsel...
Preliminary study
– Writing task
• According to one writer, “Ambition is socially
useful. It sustains economic vitality. I...
Preliminary study
– Traditional writing research employed
highly intrusive research methods:

• Direct observation
• Think...
Preliminary study
– Current study
• Qualitative – as natural as possible (in dorm room;
participants own device)
• Screen ...
Real-time L2 digital writing research
“Studying what it is our students do in their
writing, we can learn from them what t...
Digital writing
How does the nature of L2 digital writing impact the
writing process, the learning process, and the final
...
“Watch me writing!”
A real-time digital L2 writing process
Filipe W. de Souza
Product Manager | EF eLab
EF Digital Learnin...
"Watch me writing!" A real-time L2 digital writing process
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"Watch me writing!" A real-time L2 digital writing process

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Learn to appreciate the complexity of writing in this real-time L2 digital writing process of a Chinese university student writing a short argumentative essay in English. Writing is a problem-solving activity. It's reflective, informed, connected, and recursive.

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"Watch me writing!" A real-time L2 digital writing process

  1. 1. “Watch me writing!” A real-time digital L2 writing process Filipe W. de Souza Product Manager | EF eLab EF Digital Learning for Schools www.filipedesouza.com
  2. 2. I hope you will… 1. Understand the context and experience that digital native L2 students in China bring to the language classroom. 2. Appreciate the complexity involved in L2 digital writing.
  3. 3. Our students today are digital natives, multi-taskers, and efficient problem solvers.
  4. 4. We need to understand their world when we teach writing and especially when we assess writing.
  5. 5. Communication tools of digital natives
  6. 6. However… We often ask students to ‘prove’ themselves (their learned knowledge) in ways that can be completely strange to them.
  7. 7. How many times have you, as a teacher, assessed a student’s writing based on a snapshot of the writing process?
  8. 8. A snapshot of writing • What is the development story this essay has to tell? • What problems did the writer have to solve in the process? • What issues did the writer raise in the process? • What contradictions and conflicts did the writer experience when writing?
  9. 9. Writing is a process; learning how to write means learning a process.
  10. 10. If we teach writing as a process, why do we assess it as a product?
  11. 11. Writing… is informed, is connected, is a process, is a problem-solving activity, is reflective, is highly recursive (not linear), …
  12. 12. Why research the writing process? “Studying what it is our students do in their writing, we can learn from them what they still need to be taught.” V. Zamel (1983) “Writing process research can inform us … about the difficulties students may encounter while composing; thus [allowing teachers to] adapt our teaching methods to meet student’s writing needs.” M. A. Latif (2008)
  13. 13. Then, how does digital writing happen? How do students inform their writing? How do they use connected resources? What does the process look like? What type of problems do students face? How are problems solved? What issues prompt reflection? How do students revise?
  14. 14. If we want to teach writing to digital natives, then wouldn’t it be helpful to observe a digital writing process in real-time?
  15. 15. Preliminary study – L2 (+ language learning) – Writing (+ reading) – Digital – Connected – Real-time – Academic (+ argumentative) – Qualitative
  16. 16. Preliminary study – Participant • • • • • University student (in South China) High-intermediate English skills course. Sophomore (2nd year) Learning English for 10 years (since 3rd grade) Speaks: Chaoshan dialect, Cantonese, Mandarin, and English • Exposed to reading news articles, stories, blogs, micro-blogs (Weibo), emails daily and 3-4 academic articles a year in English.
  17. 17. Preliminary study – Preliminary interview What do you enjoy about writing in English? – “I enjoy writing in English itself because it brings me sense of satisfaction, if I write well.” • What problems do you have when writing in English? – “Lacking of contents maybe. I think I don’t have creative or valuable ideas in my writing, which is also the problem that exists in my writing in Chinese. Vocabulary is another problem, I usually, I think, most of us (Chinese students) usually can’t finish an essay assigned by teacher without looking up the dictionary.”
  18. 18. Preliminary study – Writing task • According to one writer, “Ambition is socially useful. It sustains economic vitality. It prods people to take risks and exert themselves. The Internet is the offspring of workaholics spending long hours to invent a new world and make a fortune … Ambition and its creative powers permeate the arts, the professions, academia, science.” Using logical reasons, and specific examples, explain whether you agree or disagree with the author’s claim about the usefulness of ambition.
  19. 19. Preliminary study – Traditional writing research employed highly intrusive research methods: • Direct observation • Think aloud protocols • Sanitized environment
  20. 20. Preliminary study – Current study • Qualitative – as natural as possible (in dorm room; participants own device) • Screen recording software (web cam + audio) • Inputlog – key-stroke logging software • Minimally-intrusive methods
  21. 21. Real-time L2 digital writing research “Studying what it is our students do in their writing, we can learn from them what they still need to be taught.” V. Zamel (1983) “Writing process research can inform us … about the difficulties students may encounter while composing; thus [allowing teachers to] adapt our teaching methods to meet student’s writing needs.” M. A. Latif (2008)
  22. 22. Digital writing How does the nature of L2 digital writing impact the writing process, the learning process, and the final product? • The “connected-ness” • The unlimited access to information • The range of digital tools available
  23. 23. “Watch me writing!” A real-time digital L2 writing process Filipe W. de Souza Product Manager | EF eLab EF Digital Learning for Schools www.filipedesouza.com

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