Our Research and Case Study Objectives
The Essaypop approach to writing instruction revolves around three critical foci. The first is the writing method we employ called Frame Writing which is a template-based system that breaks essays and other academic writing into their constituent elements.
The second scaffolding strategy we bring to teachers and students is a smartly color-coded system. This is a feature whereby the individual writing components (or frames) are colorized so that students can quickly identify and internalize the critical components of academic writing.
The third very important concept we bring into our learning ecosytem is called the Hive. The Hive is the social and interactive heart of the essaypop system; it is a busy and collaborative place where students teachers and guests give and receive feedback and advice. We like to think that the Hive makes writing a team sport.
As we built our research base through internal studies and external research, we were determined to put our efforts and the efforts of other researchers into these three foci. Here are the results:
Engagement Study One
It has been one of our core beliefs from the beginning that if pride and joy are absent from the writing experience, then students will not progress as writers. The teachers we surveyed have overwhelmingly concurred that without engagement and self-assurance, student learning languishes. So it became critical for us to discover just how captivating a learning tool EssayPop truly is.
To this end, we enlisted the services of education researcher, Ardice Hartry, Ph.D., whose 30 years of university-level research experience has provided the expertise required to understand just how engaging and confidence-building our product is to students.
Engagement Study Two
Recently, a middle school in Los Angeles that implemented the essaypop writing program for the first time, allowed us to survey 592 seventh and eighth-grade students who used essaypop as their primary writing tool during the 2019 – 2020 school year. Needless to say, it was an unusual and challenging year, interrupted by a pandemic in March of ‘20 that caused, for this district, a complete school shutdown and an immediate and unplanned transition to distance learning for the final two-and-a-half months of the school year.
This was a unique context for a case study and an opportunity to obtain student attitudes about a platform that was not only new to them but used in both conventional and remote, distance-learning settings. Our aim was to gauge their attitudes about themselves as writers after using essaypop for a year.
Color Coding Study One
Using color to help emerging and proficient writers understand the building blocks of composition more clearly is not a new concept and certainly not one we invented (although we like to think that we have perfected the method).
In fact, it’s an approach that has been proven by researchers to be effective. Here we are posting several summaries based on larger studies. on the topic. Access to the full studies is included along with these summaries for those who would like to take a deeper dive into the subject.
Color Coding Study Two
A study published in the Journal of Literacy Research conducted by Liu and Bowers (2013) suggests that color coding can be a valuable technique in teaching writing to students. The study examined the effectiveness of using color coding as an instructional tool to help students with their writing. The researchers asked students to use color-coded pencils to identify different parts of their writing, such as topic sentences, supporting details, analysis, and conclusions.
The study found that students who used color coding produced better quality writing than those who did not use color coding. Additionally, the students who used color coding demonstrated a better understanding of the different parts of their writing and how they work together to create a cohesive piece.
The Science Behind Template-Based, Color-Coded Writing
The studies here include middle school and high school students. The researchers in each study randomly assigned students to either an experimental or control group. The experimental groups were given a writing template, which included prompts for topic sentences, supporting details, analysis, and concluding sentences. The control groups did not receive a template.
The researchers found that the students who received the template outperformed their peers in the control group on measures of writing quality, including organization, ideas, and voice.
Social Interaction and Peer-to-Peer Feedback Studay
This study highlights 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.
Educators should consider incorporating such instructional methods to enhance writing instruction and help students become better writers.