Cloud-Based Writing in K-12 Schools

Mark Warschauer (School of Education, University of Irvine)

Soobin Yim (School of Education, University of Irvine)

Project Funding:
Google Faculty Research Award

Though learning to write is a vital skill in today’s knowledge economy, writing is poorly taught in K-12 schools. And learning to write collaboratively with others is seldom taught at all. With funding from Google Research Award, we are investigating the ways that Google Apps for Education, and particularly Google Docs, is used in writing instruction in a successful public school district that provides one-to-one computer access with netbooks and open source software. Using interviews, observations, a survey, server data, and test score outcomes, this study will investigate how Google Docs is integrated into instruction for diverse students, what the particular uses are for collaborative writing and receiving and responding to peer or teacher feedback, what the relationship is between use and student test score outcomes in writing, and how all of this can contribute to the design of an online writing environment that incorporates Google Docs and that matches the needs of K-12 schools.

Information of ongoing activities.
As a follow-up study, I am designing a new study on collaborative writing in second language (L2) academic contexts. This study seeks to understand L2 students’ collaborative writing experiences both in K-12 and higher education settings. Specifically, I am interested in examining the processes and outcomes of these experiences, as well as the perceived benefits and challenges of engaging in collaborative group work. Multiple sources of data including interview, observation, survey, and student writing in Google Docs will be collected to address these topics, starting from Fall 2015. This study also aims to utilize new text mining tools (SCAPES: and Docuviz( specifically designed to analyze writers’ collaboration patterns in Google Docs. These advanced methods can help elucidate document development and language-learning processes by analyzing the collaborative writing patterns (e.g., the duration and frequency of feedback and revision) across large numbers of exemplars.


Krishnan, J., Yim, S., & Wolters, A. P. (2019). Supporting Online Synchronous Collaborative Writing in the Secondary Classroom. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy,63(2), 135-145.

Yim, S., & Warschauer, M. (2019). Ch 15. Student initiating feedback: Potential of social media. In K. Hyland & P. Shaw (Eds.), Feedback in Second Language Writing (pp. 285-303). Cambridge University Press.

Krishnan, J. Cusimano, A., Wang, D., & Yim, S. (2018). Writing Together: Online Synchronous Collaboration in Middle School. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 62(2),163-173.

Yim, S., Zheng, B., & Warschauer, M. (2018). Feedback and revision patterns in cloud-based writing environment: Variation across feedback source and task type. Writing and Pedagogy, 9(3), 487-524. 

Yim, S., & Warschauer, M. (2017). Web-based collaborative writing in L2 contexts: Methodological insights from text mining. Language Learning & Technology21(1), 146-165.

Yim, S., Wang, D., Olson, J., Vu, V., & Warschauer, M. (2017, February). Synchronous Collaborative Writing in the Classroom: Undergraduates’ Collaboration Practices and their Impact on Writing Style, Quality, and Quantity. In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (pp. 468-479). ACM.

Yim, S., Warschauer, M., & Zheng, B. (2016). Google Docs in the classroom: A district-wide case study. Teachers College Record, 118(9), 1-32.

Zheng, B., Lawrence, J., Warschauer, M., & Lin, C. H. (2015). Middle school students’ writing and feedback in a cloud-based classroom environment. Technology, Knowledge and Learning20(2), 201-229.

Yim, S., Zheng, B., Warschauer, M., & Lawrence, J.F. (2014). Cloud-based Collaborative Writing and the Common Core State Standards. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 58(3), 243-541.


Krishnan, J., Yim, S., & Black, R. W. (April, 2019). “Who wants to be the leader? How Middle School Students Plan for Online Collaborative Writing. To be presented at the annual meeting for the American Education Research Association, Toronto, Canada

Yim, S., & Warschauer, M. (April, 2019). Middle School Students’ Synchronous Collaboration Using Google Docs: Investigation of Contextual factors. To be presented at the NSF-sponsored Synthesis and Design Workshop on Digitally-Mediated Team Learning (DMTL), Florida, U.S.

Krishnan, J., & Yim, S. (May, 2018). Online Synchronous Collaborative Writing: Results from Middle School and College Contexts. Digital Learning in the Humanities and Beyond: A UC Irvine-Tel Aviv University Symposium, Irvine, CA.

Zheng, B., Yim, S., & Warschauer, M. (April, 2016). Collaborative Writing Patterns in a Cloud-Based Environment. American Educational Research Association. Washington, U.S. Link

Zheng, B., Yim, S., Warshcuaer, M., & Lawrence, J.F. (Novermber, 2014). Cloud-based Collaborative Writing and the Common Core Standards. Literacy Research Association. Florida, U.S. Link

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For more information, please contact Soobin Yim (

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