Social Media + Writing = Engagement (I hope).

December is always really busy but I begin feeling overwhelmed when it comes time to start thinking about January.  For me, it always feels like it is a fresh start as you can retool some things that you have not liked since September.  With my students, we begin looking at more independent tasks as our integration schedule for many starts escalating in preparation for high school.  I find it really hard to balance everything.

This morning, I went searching for a language assignment that would be hook the kids upon returning from break.  I was disappointed that my Google search really didn’t turn up too much that made me say WOW.  I was thinking about blogging but find it superficial as the students don’t often engage with an audience outside of their classroom.  Their motivation decreases once they realize that nobody is reading their work – I don’t blame them.  I was about to give up when I saw a post on my Twitter about a website called Figment.

What is Figment?

  • It is a place to write, read and connect.
  • Students are able to sign up for a free account extremely quickly (link to Facebook or Twitter) and are able to connect with other writers around the world.
  • Easy way to comment on another student’s writing
  • Get feedback for your writing by giving specific people to your writing before publishing

It hooked me and I began exploring the site.

The first thing that I really liked was the “Reading” interface.  Once finding a story that you find interesting in the “Figment Library” – you are presented with a brief overview of the story, a snippet, its length, how long it takes to read and other user reviews.  My favourite part was the “This story made me:” feature at the bottom of the page.  For me, this is a simple way to have students respond to writing while having them choose stories that they feel are appropriate for their level.

The writing menu is very easy to use and looks similar many other “word” generators on the internet.  You are easily able to break the story into chapters, save or publish and share on other social media sites.

I also really enjoyed the Contest and Forum sections of the websites.  The contest seems to be an easy way to engage students in writing.  This month, students are allowed to write a short story, poem or another writing piece around 5 given words in under 500 words.  The winner is given a free advance signed copy of a book.

I look forward to using this site in January with my students.  Enjoy!



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