BoomWriter announced the launch of its new interactive vocabulary tool called WordWriter yesterday! WordWriter makes vocabulary fun, easy, and engaging and gives it a 21st century technology-twist! It’s sure to be a great tool for teachers and students alike.

Vocabulary: A Noun Meaning Forgotten in EdTech Buzzwords By Chris Twyman, CEO BoomWriter Media, Inc.

In recent years, vocabulary instruction has undoubtedly taken a backseat to the more buzz-worthy STEM, STEAM, flipped classroom, and other trending topics in education.  Though the Common Core has rolled out state standards that address the importance of vocabulary inclusion, “vocab” is not a hot topic when compared to the ever-growing necessity of coding, technical, and other in-demand 21st century digital skills.  Computer coding classes are even being offered in place of traditional “foreign” languages in schools, where the need to speak Java and HTML over Spanish and Latin is rapidly taking precedence.

As we pack our bags with e-readers over novels, tablets instead of textbooks, our handy smartphones always just a screen tap away from limitless information, is the need to expand our vocabulary a dying one?  When we can easily just Google or scan an online dictionary for the right word, and as writing itself is shrinking to 140 characters or less, vocab instruction in schools can seem almost a waste of valuable and increasingly limited instructional time.

I needed to look no further than my own kitchen table throughout the course of the past school year to get a glimpse of what else threatens vocabulary instruction’s place in schools.  Each Friday morning, my 11 year-old son would spread his vocab words, written on individual strips of paper, across the table in an effort to cram for the afternoon quiz.  At best he perceived this task as a nuisance, but more often that not he approached it with the utmost disdain while appreciating very little, if any, of the relevance or impact of learning the words.  I’m fortunate to have a son who typically demonstrates a passion for learning, but that was never evident with this weekly endeavor.

This, to me, is tragic because of the vital role vocabulary plays in our daily lives.  Vocabulary skills improve reading comprehension, enables thoughts to be expressed clearly and critically in writing, and also strengthens communication skills for self-expression.  Vocabulary and reading comprehension are inextricably linked—development of vocabulary is not only crucial to our formative years, but by the end of schooling, avid reading continues to expand our vocabulary well through adulthood. Why is it then that such an important aspect of learning, growth, and development is so often left on the educational backburner?

Vocabulary instruction has evolved very little over the years.  But how can that be?  We are surrounded by technology, practically 24/7: from our morning alarm on our smartphones to mobile pay apps over lunch, and the GPS that brings you to the new restaurant for date night.  Not to mention the current surge of edtech’s role in schools involving 1:1 technology implementations and BYOD programs; there are SMART boards in place of good ol’ chalk and the technological-relic-formally-known-as an overhead projector.  High school labs are using equipment once reserved only for hospitals, and libraries that use to only house dusty books and encyclopedias are now digital media hubs.  Why, then, is vocab still often taught from workbooks that have not been updated for years, and even worse, simply for the purpose of passing a quiz?

WordWriter seeks to bring vocabulary instruction and learning into the 21st century!  

Utilizing BoomWriter’s interactive and collaborative platform, WordWriter will develop greater interest and engagement levels around vocabulary instruction.  Say goodbye to dated textbooks and dull memorization, WordWriter will increase students’ overall vocabulary comprehension through application of the teacher-selected vocab into their own written work.  Teachers will simply add the specific words they wish the students to incorporate, a word limit, and some guidelines—the WordWriter platform is flexible enough that students can write creative stories around the chosen words or just simple sentences to demonstrate their vocabulary knowledge.  Best of all, WordWriter tracks student’s use of selected words and then checks off the vocabulary word once it’s been typed.  Once all students’ pieces are submitted and approved by the teacher, they can participate in the anonymous peer review portion of the process and vote for the piece they feel best utilizes the vocabulary.  WordWriter will also feature vocabulary word crowdsourcing, so teachers can see the most popular words for a particular grade added by other teachers from around the world!  

Vocabulary instruction and development will no longer be a mundane task, stuck in the past and leading to a quick quiz to be aced before the words are quickly forgotten.  With WordWriter, teachers can deliver an engaging technology-based learning experience that lets students apply and share their levels of creativity and vocabulary word knowledge.


Anonymous asked:

I would love it if the student that finished and were waiting for the voting process could read other approved submissions while waiting for all stories to be approved pre-voting phase.... just a little suggestion :)

A good suggestion - thanks! We can’t promise to implement every idea, but we do promise to read and consider each one.

Anonymous asked:

Lillie - We've signed our students up and now can't figure out how to get their writing into the book I created. It keep showing "editor" in the right hand corner. What are we doing incorrectly?Thanks

Thanks for getting in touch, and sorry you seem to be having trouble. I’m not quite sure from your description what you mean.

For a speedy resolution, please drop an email to our development team so they can give you some personal help:

Remember to send this using the email address that you signed up with!


Anonymous asked:

Is it possible to change the author of the story start. I used the story start created by one of the teams but it is me shown as its author. I would prefer the name of that group :-)

Unfortunately, at this time it is not possible to change the authorship of a Story Start.

The Author of a Story Start is linked to the account that created it. So, if you were logged in as a Teacher and created a custom Story Start, it will be attributed to you.

If you could contact our development team directly they may be able to help or give further advice. Please contact (please remember to use the email address that is linked to your BoomWriter account)

Anonymous asked:

How do I create my own story start?

First, login to your teacher account and then go to the story starts section.

From the side menu choose ‘Your School’. From here you can view and use story starts created by other teachers at your school. You can also write and manage your own.

Note that when you create a your own story start it is only available to any other teachers registered to the same BoomWriter school account.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous asked:

1. Can I create my own story start, or do I have to use one of BoomWriter's story starts? 2. After students vote and choose a next chapter, can I, as the teacher, write the following chapter? In other words, I want to make it so that I am write every other chapter. The students vote on what happens next. It would be like a choose your own adventure that I am in charge of.

Great questions!

1. Yes you can create your own story start. Login to your teacher account and go to the story starts section and from the side menu choose ‘Your School’. Note that when you create a your own story start it is only available to any other teachers registered to the same BoomWriter school account.

2. Unfortunately this cannot be done right now. BoomWriter is designed to allow students to shape the direction of the story and collectively decide where to take it next. The process we use does not currently have any facility to allow teachers to insert chapter.

Thanks - drop us a line if you have any more questions!

Anonymous asked:

Hello, I would like to ask why there are only 4 entries seen by my students while voting even though 6 were approved by me. I know they can't vote for their own entry but still one is missing. Is there an error? Best wishes, Barbara Głuszcz

Hi Barbara.

There is no error! On BoomWriter the voting process only shows a maximum of four entries at a time. In a round that has many entries (a class of 30 for instance) it would be impossible to read all 30 in one go and decide which is best.

So, our voting system uses a scoring algorithm which means students see no more than 4 entries at a time. They can potentially vote more than once. In the case you describe a student without an approved entry will be able to vote twice, where-as a student with an approved entry will only be able to vote once.

Our system distributes the chapters that different students see and incorporates other checks and balances. This ensures that each entry has an equal chance of winning.

Anonymous asked:

How do you start the voting? I have all students approved but see no way to open up the voting

If you have approved at least 2 entries, you should see a button at the bottom of the books management page (below the list of students with entries) that will start voting.

If you don’t see this, please can you drop a line to our developers - they will be able to give you one-to-one support to help you: