Saturday, November 14, 2009

6 Ways for Students to Publish Their Writing Online

In the course of a school year, most teachers will have students produce written content that they think should be shared with other readers. Other times teachers create writing projects with the goal of having students share their work publicly. The web offers many ways to publish written work, the following are six of my favorite free options.

Google Docs and Zoho Writer are the probably the simplest tools for publishing written work to the web. In both cases you can create and share all of your works without leaving the program. Google Docs allows to publish your documents as a webpage. You can then email url or post the url on your blog or website. Zoho Writer provides an extra option which generates an embed code for your documents. Using the embed code will allow people to read your documents without having to leave your blog or website. By the way, if you're not familiar with Zoho Writer check out the video included in this post.

Scribd and DocStoc are similar services that can best be described as YouTube for documents. You cannot create documents within either service rather you have to upload documents created with your preferred word processing program. Both services accept all of the common Microsoft formats, Open Office and Neo Office formats, and PDFs. Once you've uploaded your document it will be assigned a url and given an embed code. You can use the embed code to feature your documents on your blog or website. You can see how I've used DocStoc in the past by checking out this post.

If your students do any projects involving newsletter or magazine creation, you owe to them to check out Yudu and Issuu. Both services allow users to turn their static documents into page-turning online documents. To use the services simply upload your documents and select the visual effects that you want your documents to have. With out any special skills, your students' work can take on a very polished, professional look that they will want to show-off. You can embed the finished products into your blog or website. To see an embeded Yudu publication visit this post. To see a stand-alone Yudu document, please click here.

Big Huge Labs - Create Posters, Magazines, and More

Big Huge Labs has been around for years, but it's worth sharing again for those that aren't familiar with it. Big Huge Labs provides an array of tools for showcasing your digital images in the form of a magazine cover, a poster, a puzzle, and many other forms. Using Big Huge Labs does not require any registration and you can download copies of your creations without creating an account. That said, they do offer you the option to create an account in which you can save your work. I used the magazine cover template to create a cover featuring myself and Jeff Utecht talking at NECC 2009.

Applications for Education
There are a lot of ways that educators and students could use the free products offered by Big Huge Labs. The magazine cover generator could be used by students as the cover page to a biography or autobiography writing assignment. The poster templates could be used to create posters about classroom rules. The badge template could be useful for the first days of school for students and teachers to learn each other's names and express some personality at the same time.

Copyright Watch - Listing of Global Copyright Laws

Copyright Watch, hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is designed for the purposes of sharing and comparing the copyright laws of countries around the world. As the world has become connected through the Internet the creation and global sharing of content has become very easy. At the same time the misuse of copyrighted content has become easier too. Sometimes copyright violations may be the result of conflicting copyright laws. Copyright Watch aims to provide a place where copyright laws can be compared and changes to copyright laws can be updated.

Applications for Education
Copyright Watch could be useful for teaching about the differences between copyright laws. Copyright Watch might also be useful as a part of a discussion about the purpose of copyright laws.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Comprehensive Lesson Plans for Teaching Copyright
Creative Thinking - Lessons About Copyright
Copyright for Educators