I have been incredibly busy at school working on getting my classes up and running on Moodle and various other things. I have thought about writing, but somehow or other, it hasn't gotten done.
But I wanted to write about what I've been doing with Writely. I have used it with my advanced writers several times, and they have really enjoyed it. The first day, I gave them something I had written and then created verb errors in and asked them to correct it. Now, I only have students in that class this semester, so this might not work for everyone, but this first time I just told them to correct it. So they were changing things and then having their changes changed. They had a lot of fun with it. Eventually we settled down and I assigned different paragraphs to each student and they finished the task. The next time I gave them a different piece with different problems and had them correct them. The energy in the room was good throughout the activity. I had them do some as homework, too.
The last thing I had them do was post their own writing to Writely and invite the rest of us to collaborate. I started by having them underline verb and pronoun problems they found or thought they found in the other's work. Then the author went in and looked at the marked parts and had to decide if they really needed changing or not. When thus was finished, I went into their papers and highlighted one kind of error that I found (verb, word form, whatever). They then made the corrections they thought were needed. I erased the highlighting if the change was correct and left it when it wasn't. When all of that kind of error was corrected, I moved on to a different error. The students really enjoyed this. It was certainly more fun for me than wading through pages of essays marking errors.
Since one of main goals for the students this semester is to get them to edit their own work, I really think Writely will be useful. I am not sure how it would be done with a large class, but I could easily do what I did with my students with a group of ten or so.
As I do more with Writely, I'll let you know. And if anyone comes up with ideas, please let me know!