Breaking up the writing process: how wikis can support understanding the composition and revision strategies of young writers
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Understanding how best to support immature writers in the development of their understanding of the writing process is an important concern for researchers and teachers. Social technologies have become key features of leisure and work place writing, yet knowledge about how to design educational settings that take full advantage of the affordances of web 2.0 technologies to support early writing is scarce. This paper presents a small scale study that investigated how writing in a wiki environment might facilitate and support students’ use of composition and revision strategies. Our findings show that wiki can enlarge young writers’ experience of the process of composition and revision both through their own efforts and by observing the process in others. In this study students employed a wide range of types of revisions both surface and text based changes. These revisions took place during the process of composition as well as at the end. It is argued here that writing in a wiki not only provides young writers with experience of a mode of composition prevalent in the contemporary work environment, but breaks up the process of writing in a way that may support students’ understanding of the processes of composition and revision.