Benefits of Online Writing Programs for Middle School Students

Middle school students using online writing program

Online writing programs are more flexible, provide more responsive scaffolding, and promote better organization than traditional, paper-based options do.

For many schools, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a quick and expansive adoption of a wide variety of online learning resources. As in-person instruction has resumed over the last 18 months, it has become clear that the best online learning resources have a permanent role to play in education, especially in middle school and above.

Online tools are particularly helpful in subjects like writing that present a range of complex instructional challenges. Below, we explore a few ways that online programs benefit teachers and students as they work through their middle school writing curriculum.

1. Flexible learning experiences

Online learning resources tend to be far more flexible than traditional resources are. This flexibility manifests in a number of ways, including:

  • Unlimited practice: Many online tools give students access to an unlimited number of exercises. Whether students are studying for an upcoming test or simply want additional practice on a specific skill, having countless new exercises at their fingertips is a significant improvement over reviewing workbook exercises they’ve already completed or asking their time-strapped teachers to create supplemental work.
  • Improved accessibility: Online resources that are designed with accessibility in mind ensure every student enjoys an equitable learning experience regardless of their unique needs. Accessibility features like screen reader support and text-to-speech functionality can benefit everyone from learners with low vision to English language learners.
  • Location-agnostic learning: While it looks like the days of widespread fully remote learning are in the rearview mirror, resources that can easily travel with students still hold tremendous value. Not only do they let students continue learning when they’re home with a common cold, but they eliminate the need for students to lug heavy paper resources back and forth between their schools and residences.

2. Differentiated practice and scaffolding

The best online learning resources make it easy for middle school teachers to differentiate work and provide each student with personalized scaffolding. For instance, adaptive online diagnostic assessments enable teachers to pinpoint each student’s areas of strength and opportunities for growth, a depth of insight that’s difficult to achieve with static, paper-based diagnostics.

Similarly, adaptive online practice exercises ensure that students not only complete their assignments, but actually master the skills covered by their middle school writing curriculum. With traditional worksheets, students have no way of knowing when they get a question wrong, so if they’re struggling with a specific skill, they’re likely to speed through their assignment without learning all that much.

Conversely, a program like NoRedInk delivers targeted online writing help for middle school students as they work on their assignments. When a student gets consecutive questions wrong, NoRedInk displays clear, engaging explanations of what the right answer is and why the student’s answer is incorrect. Students are then given opportunities to try problems similar to the ones they missed, empowering them to learn from their mistakes.

3. Easier organization of student work

While they’ve moved on from elementary school and started to develop certain higher-level administrative skills, many middle schoolers could use some assistance with staying organized. Online writing programs often feature student dashboards that offer straightforward overviews of the assignments students need to complete, the due dates students need to meet, and the feedback students receive.

Selecting online learning resources that integrate with popular tools like Canvas, Clever, and Google Classroom makes it even easier to help students stay organized because all student work is centralized in a single platform. While creating opportunities for middle school students to develop soft skills like organization is important, schools should always be striving to simplify the steps students must take to keep track of their own work.

NoRedInk’s middle school writing curriculum

NoRedInk’s end-to-end online learning platform provides middle school teachers with pre-teaching resources, diagnostics, skills exercises, writing activities, and more. These online learning resources can be filtered by grade level and standards-alignment, streamlining the process of finding the perfect activity to complement your instruction.

Interested in trying our free online writing program with your middle school students? Sign up for free today!

Thomas collaborates with colleagues from across NoRedInk to craft stories that illustrate how NoRedInk ​​builds stronger writers. He holds a BA in Religious Studies from Occidental College.