One area where Buzzword has been very popular is in educational settings. We had hoped for just this scenario when we first conceived the product because academia is where you find users who:
* Write a lot
* Write from multiple locations, often on different computers
* Write together with fellow students
* Share their work with reviewers (often teachers)
* And, finally, care about the quality of the writing experience and the printed output.
Because Buzzword documents are stored on the web, it’s easy to allow others to read, review or even co-author them. You don’t have to email your documents to others; just invite collaborators to your shared document, and you will all be working on the same version.
It couldn’t be easier to start using Buzzword – the sign up process takes about 15 seconds. Just go to www.buzzword.com and click on the “Sign Up” link in the upper right corner of the screen, then fill in a few fields and get started.
Buzzword Makes Writing Easier
The most important thing about Buzzword is that, compared to all other word processors, it offers the fewest impediments to writing and sharing your written work. It’s free, so there is no financial barrier. Buzzword is also incredibly easy to use, so you don’t have to spend time figuring out how to handle the environment – time that you’d rather spend just writing. Finally, the interface is calm and elegant, with fewer visual distractions than any other word processor.
Benefits for Students
The Facebook generation is already accustomed to working with their content online – from IM to social networks to online photos. This generation is very mobile, using multiple Internet access points each day so with a web-based solution, their documents follow them wherever they go.
We know of many High School students who, before adopting Buzzword, would work on a document at home, then email it to themselves to continue writing at school. (We hear this is also how many professionals work as well). With Buzzword, they can avoid this onerous process – their files are available just by logging in.
Students also benefit when others have access to their writing – either peer reviews from other students or advice from siblings and parents. Of course, when the teacher is involved, a document shared online can provide insight into a student’s writing process, and allow the teacher an opportunity to provide valuable guidance throughout.
Benefits for Teachers
A primary benefit of Buzzword to teachers is that they can have access to a student’s progress throughout the writing process. This can provide better insight into where students need help and ultimately improve the learning process.
These days, many writing assignments are submitted via email. Though this can be an expedient approach, many teachers complain about the challenges:
- Incompatible software or versions: if a student uses Word 2007, but the teacher only has Word 2003, there can be problems. Or perhaps the student uses AbiWord, or TextEdit on the Mac: the result may be that the document doesn’t look the same on the teacher’s computer. Fonts and pagination may appear differently, affecting the quality of the end product.
- If a teacher assigns a writing project on Moby Dick, for example, she is likely to receive dozens of email attachments, all titled mobydick.doc. She must then go to the effort of detaching all these documents, and renaming them to include the name of the author. After commenting on the papers, she must then determine which email address is associated with each document – that’s an arduous process!
An on-line word-processor promises to make the paper writing, collaborating, commenting and correcting process much more effective and efficient for both students and teachers.
Benefits for School IT Directors
With an on-line word-processor handling students’ and teachers’ writing tasks, IT Directors are relieved of the enormous burden of supporting thousands of desktops, each with its own software and issues.
An on-line word-processor can also protect valuable IT budgets, saving sometime hundreds of thousands of dollars in desktop software costs.
Cross-platform issues, so common in educational institutions, also disappear when the word-processor is delivered on Adobe’s Flash platform. Each platform – whether Windows, Mac or Linux – works in exactly the same way, and documents are guaranteed to print out and render on screen identically regardless of platform.>
We’ve already heard from several educators about some of the ways in which Buzzword helps the teaching environment.From the chairman of a High School English department:
Buzzword has revolutionized my writing instruction in one stroke. In near real-time, students and I can collaborate on the editing and revision process. I can get writings back in record time–and with the kinds of comments and revision suggestions that teachers never in the past had time for. Many students are suddenly embracing the peer editing and comment process (through the shared reviewer feature) that is a sure-fire motivator. I have often found myself one-upped by a student reviewer who made astute suggestions to their peers long before I even logged on!
I began using Buzzword with one, then two classes, and I have never found (until now) any true advantage to peer editing and review until I used Buzzword. Now all of my students–in all of my classes–want to sign up. Next week I will add two more classes to my share list, and look forward to continued use of this fantastic resource.
A High School IT administrator to the following notes on Buzzword usage:
* Students are excited about (a particular) class again because they get to work with something that impresses them.
* Students are able to work on their projects at home and school with a consistent interface experience
* The document sharing is great. The teachers can look at the projects at their leisure.
* The simplicity of the commenting is great too. This is one feature that I would say is the â€œmakes it worth itâ€ feature.
* Once a benchmark deadline passes, the teachers get to work commenting the students progress. They ask the students to leave in the comments from previous benchmarks and that gives them a compass of where to start.
* From my point of view, I am loving the fact that this is totally web based and that file management is not an issue.
Would you like to learn more?
For more information, or to participate in the discussion about Buzzword, check out the links below.
* The Buzzword team actively participates in a user forum, where participants post and respond to questions and issues related to Buzzword. The forum is at forum.buzzword.com. Note: there is now an education area on the Buzzword forum where you can participate in discussions
* Buzzword has now become part of the Adobe family of products. You can learn more about on the Buzzword pages of the Adobe Labs site.