Friday, July 20, 2012

BoomWriter Offers Collaborative Publishing for Kids

This week I had the opportunity to have dinner with Ken Haynes, one of the co-founders of BoomWriter, to talk about what his service offers and how it got started. Ken was a sixth grade teacher in a Brookline, Massachusetts school when he and his business partner started BoomWriter.   BoomWriter was started to provide a safe online place in which students could collaboratively construct a story.

Here's how BoomWriter works; BoomWriter provides a story starter for a story and students continue the story by writing additional chapters. The chapters are submitted anonymously by students to the project. After the submissions are made students can vote for their favorite submissions. The chapters receiving the most votes make it into a book that students, teachers, and parents can choose to have published by BoomWriter. 

Teachers can register their classes and have their students anonymously contribute to a project that is started by using one of the BoomWriter story starters or started by a prompt enter by him or herself. The anonymity only extends to other students as teachers can see who made which contributions and offer feedback to students.

Applications for Education
BoomWriter is a natural fit in a creative writing lesson, but as Ken and I were talking we realized that it could also be useful in a history course. In a history course a teacher could have students write about various events and eras in history to create a small textbook. Also in a history course BoomWriter could be used by students to develop a historical fiction story.

In the interest of full disclosure I will mention that Ken did pay for dinner but I do not have any other financial or in-kind affiliation with BoomWriter. If that changes, I will be sure to mention it in future posts. 

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