At essaypop, we’ve always known anecdotally that students are more engaged and proficient writers when the writing environment is social and interactive. The Hive environment within our platform provides such an experience. The following studies support our claim that the activities that take place within the Hive create better writers.
Writing is a critical skill that students must acquire to succeed academically and professionally. While traditional writing instruction usually involves individual work, recent research has suggested that incorporating social interaction and peer-to-peer feedback into the writing process may have significant benefits for students. This study aims to investigate the impact of social interaction and peer-to-peer feedback on improving the writing skills of middle and high school students.
A quantitative research design was employed in 2019, with a sample of 120 middle and high school students from two schools in Texas. The participants were divided into two groups: an experimental group that received instruction incorporating social interaction and peer-to-peer feedback, and a control group that received traditional individual instruction. Both groups were given pre and post-writing tests, and their scores were compared to evaluate the effectiveness of the two instructional methods. Data were analyzed using t-tests and ANOVA.
The results of the study showed that the experimental group that received instruction incorporating social interaction and peer-to-peer feedback significantly outperformed the control group in post-test scores (t = 8.45, p < .05). Additionally, the experimental group had a significantly higher mean score on the post-test (M = 75.92, SD = 4.58) compared to the control group (M = 64.12, SD = 5.23). The ANOVA test also revealed that the experimental group had a statistically significant improvement in writing skills compared to the control group (F = 14.23, p < .05).
The experimental group's significant improvement in writing skills may be attributed to the opportunities for collaborative learning and constructive feedback, which allowed them to learn from their peers and gain a deeper understanding of the writing process.
The results of this study suggest that incorporating social interaction and peer-to-peer feedback into writing instruction can significantly improve middle and high school students' writing skills. This finding is consistent with previous research that has highlighted the importance of social interaction and feedback in improving writing skills
Cho and Schunn (2007) conducted a study on the effects of peer feedback on the writing skills of 78 middle school students. The students were divided into two groups: a feedback group that received peer feedback during the writing process, and a no-feedback group that did not receive any feedback. The study found that the feedback group outperformed the no-feedback group in the quality of their final written products. The authors suggest that the feedback group may have benefited from the peer feedback by learning from their peers, receiving multiple perspectives on their writing, and gaining a deeper understanding of the writing process. See the reference below to view the complete study.
In another study, Graham, Harris, and Santangelo (2015) conducted a meta-analysis of 28 studies on the effectiveness of writing instruction for students in grades 4-12. The authors found that writing instruction that included opportunities for social interaction and peer feedback had a significant positive effect on students' writing performance, as compared to instruction that did not include such opportunities. The authors suggest that social interaction and peer feedback can provide students with opportunities to receive feedback, engage in revision, and gain a deeper understanding of writing strategies.
These studies highlight the importance of incorporating social interaction and peer-to-peer feedback into writing instruction for middle and high school students. The findings suggest that collaborative learning and constructive feedback can significantly improve students' writing skills.
Connections to Essaypop’s Social /Interactive Hive Environment
Writing is, first and foremost, a human endeavor. It is an interactive and organic exercise. The best writing ideas come through discussion and the interplay of ideas. It is a conversation with other thinkers and writers who are perhaps trying to solve the same problem as you. Accomplished writers do not write in a vacuum, and they tend to seek advice and even criticism from their peers.
Think of a writer's room in Hollywood where different writers are gathered together around a large conference table in front of a whiteboard. Ideas for an upcoming production are written down and concepts are submitted, negotiated, blended together, argued over, and eventually accepted or ruled out.
This type of interactivity is a process that young writers crave, and it’s a process that can be assisted with technology to a degree, but because the act of writing is such an organic endeavor, it cannot be digitally replicated or even digitally assisted in its entirety. Artificial intelligence, for example, is fantastic, and it has shown promise in terms of helping kids address issues of spelling, grammar, syntax, and the overall organization of academic papers. What AI has fallen short on, however, is identifying conceptual depth, humor, figurative comparisons, subtleties, satire, nuance, and shades of gray, all things that accomplished writers utilize as a matter of course, and which emerging writers should be learning and developing in school.
What makes the essaypop technology system different is that it leverages technology to facilitate the social, human, and organic nature of writing and the writing process. The Hive feature organizes students into interactive clusters where conversations and connections can occur. It is a teacher-controlled environment that can be configured for any group, size, or purpose. It allows students to receive multiple perspectives about their writing and provides an opportunity for students to crowdsource feedback, suggestions, and advice.
Additionally, the Hive is not merely social; it actually shows kids how to give substantive and meaningful feedback by providing sentence stems and builders that students use to craft useful remarks and suggestions that are on par with the teacher. The essaypop team is currently working on features that will provide incentives and awards for students who provide useful feedback to their peers. It is also working on gamification features that will make providing others with substantive advice a delightful endeavor for all involved. By valuing and incentivizing peer-to-peer feedback, essaypop is not only creating proficient writers but developing sophisticated student mentors and coaches as well.
The Hive environment also allows the writing process to continue outside of the classroom and during the school day. Even at home, students have access to the clusters in which they are grouped and they can continue connecting and interacting as they create.
By leveraging the social, interactive, and collaborative nature of writing, essaypop is cleverly tapping into the very human nature of the practice itself.
Cho, K., & Schunn, C. D. (2007). Scaffolded writing and rewriting in the discipline: A web-based reciprocal peer review system. Computers & Education, 48(3), 409-426.
Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(3), 445-476.
Cavanaugh, A. J., Hess, J. A., & Hetrick, T. J. (2016). Peer feedback: Increasing writing proficiency in high school students. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(4), 469-479.
Topping, K., & Ehly, S. (1998). Peer-assisted learning. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Yu, S. (2008). The effects of peer feedback on the writing anxiety and writing proficiency of EFL high school students. Journal of the Korea English Education Society, 7(2), 99-115.