To adequately prepare students with the skills they will need after education, integrating technology into our classrooms is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. The world of primary education, particularly the subject of English, has seen a significant transformation due to EdTech. Teaching creative writing to young minds is a journey of exploration and one that can be greatly enhanced by the right digital tools. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing with you ten of my top digital tools to help bring your creative writing lessons to life. I have used all of the tools mentioned here, but none are supporting, sponsoring or paying in any form for a mention in this article.
First on the list is Storybird. It’s an engaging tool that combines beautiful artwork with storytelling. Storybird allows students to choose a set of illustrations and build a story around them. The visual element can ignite creativity, aid in vocabulary enrichment, and promote story structure understanding in an enjoyable manner. It’s suitable for a range of abilities and can be a great stepping stone for reluctant writers. There is a free membership, and then several levels of paid subscription to access more features.
BoomWriter is an excellent platform for collaborative writing. In a shared story-writing experience, students write and read the chapters of their peers, providing an opportunity to learn from each other. This tool is fantastic for teaching the importance of constructive criticism and editing, which are crucial skills in writing. There is an option to have completed class books printed, but this is not essential. The continual voting and feedback by peers on each others chapters provides a highly motivating real world audience within their process. You can also set individual assignments within the platform as well.
Google Docs is a powerful and collaborative tool. It allows for real-time editing and feedback, which is essential for refining and improving work. Its in-built tools, like the research tool and voice typing, can be particularly beneficial for young writers. Within the Google Classroom platform docs can be used to edit and submit assignments set by the educator. As a cloud based tool, it can be accessed at home as easily as in school, and works across almost all browsers and devices.
Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/
Book Creator provides an interactive and exciting way for students to create their digital books, complete with text, illustrations, and audio. Students can see their stories come to life, which can be incredibly motivating and rewarding. This tool is fantastic for integrating cross-curricular links. A free account allows currently one library with forty books, and then paid subscriptions extend to unlimited libraries with larger book limits, as well as integrations to your LMS, CPD content, other integrations (think Canva, etc), as well as real time collaboration, co-teachers and additional icons, images, animated content etc.
Book Creator: https://bookcreator.com/
Popplet is a mind-mapping tool that can be highly beneficial in the pre-writing phase. Students can use it to organise their thoughts, plot their stories, and visualise connections between characters, themes, and events. It’s a great tool for promoting structured thinking. Again free and paid subscriptions are available depending on how much and how you wish to use the platform.
While the primary goal is to stimulate creativity, we can’t ignore the technical side of writing. Grammarly is a digital writing assistant that helps students recognise and correct their grammatical errors. This real-time feedback can help students improve their grammar usage over time.
Inspiring young writers often starts with making them avid readers. Epic! is a digital library containing over 40,000 books, videos, and quizzes. By exposing students to a range of genres and writing styles, Epic! can spark creativity and encourage students to experiment with their writing.
Finally, Padlet provides a virtual bulletin board where students can share their writing with their peers in a safe and moderated environment. This tool fosters a sense of community and provides a platform for students to give and receive feedback. Padlet has many uses for educators and students alike. Free and paid subscriptions are available, the later of which open up higher board numbers to create and some more interesting board types and features. If you do not need this then the free plan can be adequate instead.
Microsoft Office (Microsoft 365)
Microsoft’s Office apps offer some overlap with Google Docs in a cloud based productivity and office suite, but with the additional benefit of desktop apps that increase the facility and power of the browser versions. Free to use, and also with LMS integration, you can integrate Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Sway etc into Teams to provide a complete platform for learning, with assignments, gradebook, and insights built in.
Microsoft 365: https://office.com
Digital tools can enrich the teaching and learning process in creative writing. I often talk about digital resources and tools on this site as I have gained so much value from them in my own teaching. I have found that the right tool can offer greater opportunities for student engagement, collaborative learning, and can make writing fun for more reluctant writers. The ten tools listed here are by no means exhaustive but provide a strong starting point for those seeking to incorporate EdTech into their creative writing lessons. I’d leave to hear from you in the comments or via social about how you have used these tools, or if you have another favourite that should have made the list.