What a year. As we all negotiate the run to Christmas, I wanted to write to thank you for your support, tell you about developments with Writer’s Toolbox, and give you a heads up about some of our plans for 2021.
If you’re ticking off my sentence styles while you read this—I’ll see if I can knock out all twelve. Wildly, the past few months have been seen a flurry of additions to Writer’s Toolbox.
School Performance Data
Definitely a personal favourite of mine; it has been exciting to watch this part of the site develop. Now, your school administrator can track school usage and writing progress in real time. And it was a real thrill as we switched live in July, to see a whole bunch of schools whose students had written over one million words on Writer’s Toolbox. In just three months, students made tens of thousands of improvements to their writing using feedback from our Artificial Intelligence.
Trend graphs and Student Goal Setting
This past week we have added new trend graphs, so school leadership can now compare writing strengths between different year levels. Over the next few months, we are building even more reporting tools for you, and by the start of next year, students themselves will be able to monitor their own improvement and even set their own writing goals.
Dynamic Paragraph and Sentence Scaffolding
You have to try this out. Two weeks ago, this feature went live. Determined to push further, we are the first site in the world where a student can select a paragraph type or sentence style they want to write, and a dynamic scaffold will appear inside their writing page. Just fill out the prompts, and make the scaffold vanish. It’s pretty cool.
New Main Dashboard and Marking Tool
A new teacher marking tool will offer an automatic profile of the writing quality of a piece of student work, leaving you free to mark it for content and other key features you want delivered. In addition, a new main dashboard will give students real-time information about their writing journey: affirming their best skills, and suggesting writing targets for the coming week.
Coming your way Before Christmas
Assigning Modules to Individual Students
You asked for it; we are building it. Committed to differentiated learning, teachers will be able to assign single learning modules to individual students. Great for targeted teaching and extension work.
Sentence Train and Module Activities
A big project for us this year has been automating all the module activities PLUS bringing Sentence Train into the site to deepen sentencing skills. All this work goes live the first week of November. So, watch the Module area of the site for enhanced features and great skills activities.
Teacher Certification Programme
Plans are already afoot for 2021. The PD team are delighted to be offering our Teacher Certification programme, which will allow teachers to attend a series of workshops and become accredited in the Hunter Writing System (watch the website for booking details, or grab a WTE writing coach).
Writer's Toolbox Premium 2021
It has been gratifying to bring you all the features you presently enjoy on Writer’s Toolbox—and there’s more to come. In addition, across 2021 we are releasing a range of advanced tools that will be eventually packaged as Writer’s Toolbox Premium. These features include Writer’s Scorecard (an AI-driven student report card), the ability to run your own digital mock examinations, a Teacher PD portal, as well as extended reporting and student progress tools for leadership.
We don’t have a release date for Premium as yet. However, what I can tell you is that ANY school with a Writer’s Toolbox account on 1 January 2021 will receive FREE access throughout 2021 for ALL additional features released as part of Premium.
Meanwhile, thank you for all your great feedback and for the part you allow us to play in the education of your students.
From the team here at WTE and Writer's Toolbox, we look forward to supporting you for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
Dr Ian Hunter