Computers have become prevalent in most professional activities, as they are used with different aims, from the administration of work to the performance of core professional activities. However, vocational educational programs rarely integrate computer support for writing activities in the school or training place, yet often require trainees to prepare printed project reports. The computer is thus considered as a mere production tool and its affordances for learning and training are ignored. This chapter presents an overview of the way computer technology can be used to facilitate and support individual and collaborative writing, with the perspective of fostering learning and professional development. After identifying the functions and affordances offered by technology to support different aspects of the writing activity, with a particular attention to the tools oriented towards collaboration, the chapter provides examples of studies involving two types of computer-supported collaborative writing activities: collaborative production with Wikis, and asynchronous discussions, in two different domains: teacher education and health. The potential benefits of collaborative writing on professional development in terms of social and individual knowledge construction are discussed, providing recommendations for the implementation of productive collaborative writing instructional activities.
In their edited volume
Writing for Professional Development, Giulia Ortoleva, Mireille Bétrancourt and Stephen Billett provide a range of contributions in which empirical research, instructional models and educational practice are used to explore and illuminate how the task and process of writing can be used as tools for professional development.
Throughout the volume, two main perspectives are considered: learning to write professionally and writing to learn the profession, both for initial occupational preparation and ongoing development within them. The contributions consider a range of fields of professional practice, across sectors of education, starting from the premises that the role of writing as evolved in all occupational domains, becoming a key activity in most workplaces.
Contributors are: Cecile M. Badenhorst, Elena Boldrini, Esther Breuer, Inês Cardoso, Alberto Cattaneo, Peter Czigler, Jessica Dehler, Pauline Glover, Terri Grant, Jean-Luc Gurtner, Jacqueline Hesson, Ashgar Iran-Nejad, Rhonda Joy, Ann Kelly, Merja Kurunsaari, Xumei Li, Laetitia Mauroux, Heather McLeod, Elisa Motta, Astrid Neumann, Julian Newman, Sigrid Newman, Sharon Penney, Luísa Alvares Pereira, Sarah Pickett, Iris Susana Pires Pereira, Anna Perréard Vité, Arja Piirainen, Elisa Redondi, Sabine Vanhulle, Ray Smith, Kirk P. H. Sullivan, Linda Sweet, Païvi Tynjälä, Dorothy Vaandering, Rebecca Woodard, and Gabrielle Young.