As most of you know – if you’re here on my blog! – I am a firm believer in educational technologies that disrupt old and outmoded ways of doing things in the classroom. Students learn in a whole bunch of different ways, and the present and future of education isn’t always well equipped to deal with that reality.
And that’s super true in Liberal Arts classes. I don’t mean to shame my brothers and sisters in Language Arts and Social Studies, but some of you think that being “technologically forward” is simply letting your students use Google Docs to collaborate.
But that doesn’t fix the fact that students still start with a blank page.
Sure, they can use Google and amazing notes and brainstorming and real-life activities to get a whole bunch of content about whatever you are focused on for their writing task(s), but then once they’ve got all their ideas organized or researched, what do they do with them? They open up a blank word processing doc, stare at it, and are no further ahead than they were a generation ago.
I recently learned about a company, based in Toronto, led by a woman who was a high school English teacher and then an English professor and her husband who is still a tenured Law professor. They have taught every grade from kindergarten to PhD level between the two of them and have done their 10,000 hours of reading and writing! What they developed is a web platform called EssayJack, which is designed to bridge that gap between Google Search and Google Doc.
EssayJack is a smart templating system with interactive tips and prompts that walks students through the writing process. There are a bunch of custom templates available for any EssayJack user – from a TED talk to a basic business proposal to a book review to a five-paragraph essay to a university-level academic essay, and more – and if you want to use it in your classroom as a teacher, you can also customize it for your particular classes or even individual students.
If they ever make a template for a book, maybe I’ll write my third book using EssayJack – BookJack??? – speaking of my books, did you know that Block Breaker is out now???
Okay, back from my digression…this company, EssayJack, is still growing in Canada and abroad, with thousands of users around the globe, either signing up individually or as part of a school. Why not try it out and say that you found it first here?
Why suffer the tyranny of the blank page when you have something to write? Just jack your essays with EssayJack!
From their website:
EssayJack is an interactive web platform with a patented solution that pre-structures student essays, reduces writing anxiety, and allows educator customization and feedback. Ranked as one of the top English Language teaching digital innovations in the world by the British Council and Cambridge English, EssayJack was created by award-winning educators and can be customized for almost any writing task.