Collaborative Writing in the L2 Classroom: Making the Most of Digital Social Tools
Ana Oskoz [+]
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Idoia Elola [+]
Texas Tech University
By their very nature, digital social tools have transformed writing from an individual to a collaborative act. Yet, rather than presenting collaborative writing as the panacea for L2 writing practices, we argue that the integration of digital social tools—which have altered the nature of and blurred the lines between reading and writing—has emphasized “collaborative forms of textual composition and interpretation” (Blyth, 2014, p. 204) and reinstated literacy practices as collaborative and public. After defining what collaborative writing means and arguing for its important role in the L2 classroom, we examine current work on L2 collaborative writing, which has been mostly informed by sociocultural and activity theories. Furthermore, it is also important to understand how the affordances of different collaborative tools (ranging from discussion boards to wikis, blogs, or Twitter) benefit L2 writers’ development in terms of, for example, content development, linguistic accuracy, and appropriate structure, while facilitating the “ways of doing, relating, thinking, and being” (Hafner, Chik, & Jones, 2015, p. 2). Throughout the chapter, we provide practical applications of collaborating writing—for example, following a task-based approach, we demonstrate the affordability that different tools bring to the development of digital literacies. In addition, the chapter presents ideas and questions for reflection.