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1 WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century How Educators Can Help Students Develop Both Content Knowledge and 21 st Century Skills Prevent Plagiarism. Engage Students.

2 Table of Contents 1.0 Summary 1.1 Turnitin, a Web-Based Service Supporting Collaborative Writing, Fuses Content Learning with 21st Century Skills Introduction 2.1 A Decade of Deliberation About 21st Century Skills Can Technology be the Answer to Content vs. Skills? The Teaching Challenge: Preparing Students in a World of High-Stakes Tests Enabling the Vision 3.1 Teaching Content and 21st Century Skills with Turnitin Turnitin and 21st Century Skills Conclusion 4.1 Turnitin Offers a Unified Solution for Teaching Content Knowledge through Process-Oriented Writing in a 21st Century Online Environment References About the Authors About Turnitin and iparadigms, LLC Figure 1: ISTE Educational Technology Standards... 4 Figure 2: The 21st Century Skills Framework... 5 Figure 3: The Turnitin Collaborative Writing Process... 7 Figure 4: Alignment of Turnitin to the 21st Century Skills Framework... 9 Table 1: Learning & Innovation Skills Table 2: Information, Media & Technology Skills Table 3: Life & Career Skills WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 2

3 1.0 Summary 1.1 Turnitin, a Web-Based Service Supporting Collaborative Writing, Fuses Content Learning with 21st Century Skills As the role of technology in education moves to the forefront of educational and political debate, so does discussion of the skills students will need in the 21st century. Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making the so-called 21st century skills are held up as essential in preparing students for the challenges they will face in their future schooling, jobs and lives. At the same time, teachers face growing accountability for their students academic achievement in content areas as measured by standardized tests. The discussion centers around classroom time: Does sufficient time exist for successful teaching and learning of both required content and 21st century skills? Some see this as a dilemma that teaching one will take away time from the other. This dilemma, while often seated in K-12 education, touches all levels of learning. When and how technology works in our classrooms, and increasingly beyond our classrooms, has been a lively topic among educators and researchers for years. Now, with heightened interest in educational innovation, the time may be right to look at technology in a new way: as glue to bring together subject content and information-age skills. This report examines the skills-content dilemma and introduces a new technology to help solve it. The new technology is Turnitin, a web-based service that supports collaborative writing. Turnitin offers secondary and postsecondary instructors a practical, time-efficient way to teach content while promoting 21st century skills. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 3

4 2.0 Introduction 2.1 A Decade of Deliberation About 21 st Century Skills In the late 1990s, there was great anticipation of how technology and the Internet were going to change the rules by which we had lived and learned. As the value of technology stocks soared in a seemingly endless upward spiral, the leaders of almost every organization began to look forward to the start of the new century, and the implications of a networked, online world. What skills would be required for success? What preparation should our children have in order to compete in the technology and web-enabled global economy of the 21st century? In 1997, a leading advocate for educational technology, The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), proposed answers to those key questions in the form of the National Education Technology Standards (NETS). This catalyzed a decade-long deliberation about the place for classroom technology and 21st century skills (see Figure 1). Digital Age Learning Culture Visionary Leadership Excellence in Professional Practice ISTE s Educational Technology Standards for Administrators FIGURE 1 The International Society for Technology in Education made the first milestone in setting the standards for 21st century skills. In 1997, ISTE released the National Educational Technology Standards for effective school leadership for comprehensive and appropriate use of technology in schools. Systemic Improvement Digital Citizenship During the next several years, the focus of the discussion shifted from learning about technology to learning with technology. The chief concern became how to use technology to make learning more effective and efficient. In 2002, a group of visionary leaders from business, education, and government took the next step to move the skills agenda forward. They formed The Partnership for 21st Century Skills* (P21) with the goal of setting a framework for preparing students with skills for the coming decades. Notably, P21 took a look at the range of skills that were needed in the workplace, beyond technology skills alone. The release of the P21 framework (see Figure 2) caused controversy. Some saw this as requiring a move away from content-based curriculum standards. * The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policy makers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child s success as citizens and workers in the 21st century by providing tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 4

5 The twenty-first century demands that literate people possess a wide range of writing skills and varying approaches to writing tasks addressing multiple audiences for a variety of purposes. - National Council of Teachers of English FIGURE 2 In 2002, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills brought together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define the education needed to ensure student success in the 21st century. The P21 framework, depicted here, is holistic when compared to the framework focused on technology developed by ISTE in the late 1990s. It incorporates standards-based content knowledge in the context of skills students need to be effective citizens, workers, and leaders. (Used with permission of The Partnership for 21st Century Skills) The 21st century skills discussion is still very much alive. In 2009, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) released their Standards for the 21st-Century Learner, outlining a range of skills and responsibilities to guide student learning and research in any subject. Fundamental to these standards are inquiry, collaboration, self-assessment and proper use of technology. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 5

6 2.2 Can Technology be the Answer to Content vs. Skills? In the 21st century we have seen that often it is technology that is driving the way we work, learn and communicate with one another. Economists acknowledge that as computers begin to perform routine workplace tasks, the value of the workforce is increasingly about critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that require innovation and creativity (Levy and Murnane, 2004). At the same time, more educational leaders are supporting the idea that to prepare the future labor. More educational leaders are supporting the idea that to prepare the future labor force, teachers need to facilitate student development of these higher-level cognitive skills. Given the current trends in global communication, these skills should be fostered in a collaborative learning environment where students interact with one another on papers and projects, and with a growing recognition that writing about a subject may be the best way to learn a subject. A consensus is emerging that more emphasis is needed on skills, but not at the expense of content knowledge. The challenge is compounded with the rapid evolution o technology; ultimately, information and communication technology will impact the way today s students are educated for tomorrow. Thus, a 21st century education needs to foster critical thinking and problem solving in a collaborative environment but with appropriate technology. Is it possible that a technology platform can facilitate learning of subject matter while developing 21st century skills? Is this realistic given the pressures facing classroom teachers and with the continued emphasis on standardized testing? 2.3 The Teaching Challenge: Preparing Students in a World of High-Stakes Tests Teachers and administrators feel that they cannot abandon their required content or even adjust instructional methods that do not specifically help them teach to the test. Lecture and drill and practice methods with traditional testing assessment provide teachers the most bang for the buck in instructional efficiency, and given the heavy teaching loads of content material, efficiency matters. Therefore, 21st century skills have become secondary to instructional time even while politicians and educators discuss their importance in educating today s students. Writing-to-learn activities and writing assessments, which have proven valuable in teaching and assessing core subject matter, can be difficult for instructors to assess and manage; however, even tests for college-bound students, such as the SAT, now include a writing component, suggesting the importance of writing in the core of education. Writing engages students in higher-level cognitive tasks, therefore, requiring more critical thinking and problem solving approaches to their learning. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 6

7 3.0 Enabling the Vision 3.1 Teaching Content and 21 st Century Skills with Turnitin The National Council of Teachers of English recognizes the importance of teaching writing skills across the curriculum, stating, The twenty-first century demands that literate people possess a wide range of writing skills and varying approaches to writing tasks addressing multiple audiences for a variety of purposes (NCTE, 2008). Writing itself is a valuable 21st century skill for all learners as we communicate and collaborate in a global environment. Therefore, instructors need a solution that enables them to teach both content and skills, to adequately assess both, and to introduce students to new technology in the process. What is Turnitin? Turnitin is a set of web-based tools for feedback and collaboration on written assignments that supports both students and teachers. Students get engaged in content learning via the writing process through multiple rounds of feedback on written work from their peers, teachers, and even themselves. Teaching is facilitated by tools that address both content and 21st century literacy (see Figure 3). DIGITAL GRADING Gives teachers online writing assessment tools and allows them to attach rubrics to assignments to help students make improvements. ORIGINALITY CHECKING Identifies material similar to that found on the Internet and in content databases. Encourages original work and respect for intellectual property. PEER REVIEWING Allows students to collaborate through online peer review by giving feedback to one another as drafts are developed. FIGURE 3 Turnitin is a unique technology platform that supports learning of subject matter through the writing process while also reinforcing 21st century skills. This web-delivered environment facilitates learning and assessment with three integrated online components that support the writing process: 1) originality checking, 2) peer reviewing, and 3) mark-up and grading. Turnitin consists of: OriginalityCheck, which identifies material within student writing that is similar to material on the Internet and other databases of written content. PeerMark, which enables students to perform online peer reviewing and give feedback to one another on their drafts. GradeMark, a grading and assessment tool that allows instructors to grade student writing online and to create and attach rubrics to assignments. Turnitin s OriginalityCheck, PeerMark, and GradeMark tools enable instructors to teach 21st century problemsolving, collaborative and critical-thinking skills while focusing on course content. Students also learn valuable writing skills as Turnitin enables frequent, meaningful feedback from their instructors and peers. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 7

8 The amount of information available to our learners necessitates that each individual acquire the skills to select, - American Association of School Librarians evaluate, and use information appropriately and effectively. With Turnitin, students learn to approach writing projects as a continuous process of draft, revision and reflection assignments. Turnitin enables teachers to hold students accountable for their efforts during the process rather than just for the final product: students prewrite using the course discussion board, draft for various rounds of PeerMark reviews, and can revise their writing strategies after self-assessing with OriginalityCheck or in a Reflection Assignment. Throughout the process, students weave 21st century skills writing into their core subjects. 3.2 Turnitin and 21 st Century Skills In their framework, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills outlined three fundamental areas students need for future success (The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, n.d.): Learning and Innovation Skills Information, Media, and Technology Skills Life and Career Skills The American Association of School Librarians similarly recommends specific skills, dispositions in action, responsibilities and self-assessment strategies for students in four core areas: Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 8

9 Learning is enhanced by opportunities to share and learn with others. Students need to develop skills in sharing knowledge and learning with others, both in face-to-face situations and through technology. - American Association of School Librarians These core areas and specific standards represent similar student expectations to the P21 outcomes. As with the P21 framework, Turnitin aligns with the AASL standards. Teachers and librarians, therefore, will find Turnitin a useful technology to enhance 21st century skills. FIGURE 4 Using Turnitin to support instruction aligns with three of the P21 framework components and facilitates core subject knowledge by facilitating writing-to-learn. (Used by permission from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills) The P21 framework details learning outcomes under each of these skill areas, representing the knowledge and aptitudes students need for future success. The features of Turnitin align with P21 s list of skills and learning outcomes, providing teachers and students a useful tool to enhance 21st century teaching and learning. As students work through the Turnitin process, they develop the competencies called for by both the P21 framework and the AASL standards. For example, Turnitin encourages students to collaborate with one another; students become part of the conversation about the content and writing. Their communication helps them become more creative and innovative in writing and furthers their understanding of the subject matter. The writing activities students engage in throughout the Turnitin feedback process also enhance their ability to navigate 21st century information and technology, encouraging appropriate researching skills in a digital environment. Furthermore, as students work together in the writing process, they learn important life skills by working with diverse groups of students and recognizing their diverse views. Turnitin also makes it easier for instructors to manage their writing assignments and their assessments in the content areas, facilitating a balance of core content and 21st century skills in the classroom. The ways in which Turnitin specifically accomplishes the objectives in the three P21 and AASL skills areas are shown in the three tables that follow. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 9

10 TABLE 1: LEARNING & INNOVATION SKILLS Turnitin contributes directly to elements of the P21 and AASL learning and innovation skills. LEARNING & INNOVATION SKILLS P21 LEARNING OUTCOME Creativity and Innovation TURNITIN ALIGNMENT Turnitin s discussion board allows students to work creatively with one another to develop ideas for writing. Reflection Assignments enable students to synthesize new and innovative ideas for their writing by reflecting on their process. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving OriginalityCheck, PeerMark and other tools built into Turnitin ask students to evaluate writing and to solve problems in writing such as source integration and development. Communication and Collaboration Turnitin is a collaborative writing tool that fosters communication about writing from instructor to student as well as student to student. AASL LEARNING OUTCOME Inquire TURNITIN ALIGNMENT Turnitin s discussion board allows students to question one another to develop ideas for writing. Feedback from peers and instructors received through Turnitin can help students in their process of inquiry. Think Critically Through OriginalityCheck students can monitor their ability to gather and use diverse sources successfully. Reflection Assignments ask students to self-assess their process and make necessary adjustments to their writing. Gain Knowledge OriginalityCheck helps students learn how to integrate sources ethically and understand copyright issues. The course discussion board and PeerMark allow students to collaborate with one another to further their learning and understanding. P21 Skills Area #1: Learning & Innovation Skills Of the first skill area, the P21 group said, Learning and innovation skills increasingly are being recognized as the skills that separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 10

11 TABLE 2: INFORMATION, MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY SKILLS Features of Turnitin contribute to desired P21 and AASL outcomes for information, media, and technology skills. INFORMATION, MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY SKILLS P21 LEARNING OUTCOME Information Literacy TURNITIN ALIGNMENT OriginalityCheck helps students manage research and information within their own writing. PeerMark helps students evaluate their use of information within writing tasks. Media Literacy The course discussion board provides a forum for students to discuss values and diverse points of view. Information, Communications and Technology Literacy AASL LEARNING OUTCOME Draw Conclusions All of the features of Turnitin align with this learning outcome as students use Turnitin to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information within a social network of learners. TURNITIN ALIGNMENT Feedback from OriginalityCheck, PeerMark and GradeMark help students draw important conclusions about their writing topics and their own progress as a writer. Make Informed Decisions OriginalityCheck helps students manage research and information within their own writing. Feedback from OriginalityCheck, PeerMark and GradeMark help students make informed decisions about their writing projects. Apply Knowledge to New Situations Through PeerMark, students can evaluate and assess peer writing. They can then perform these same assessments on their own projects. Create New Knowledge All of the features of Turnitin align with this learning outcome as students use Turnitin to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information within a social network of learners. P21 Skills Area #2: Information, Media & Technology Skills Of the second skill area, the P21 group said, People in the 21st century live in a technology and mediasuffused environment, marked by various characteristics, including: 1) access to an abundance of information, 2) rapid changes in technology tools, and 3) the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 11

12 TABLE 3: LIFE & CAREER SKILLS Turnitin addresses 5 of the P21 and three of the AASL learning outcomes in the life and career skills area. LIFE & CAREER SKILLS P21 LEARNING OUTCOME Flexibility and Adaptability TURNITIN ALIGNMENT PeerMark helps students incorporate peer feedback into their writing, teaching them flexibility and adaptability as they manage peer criticism and input. Initiative and Self- Direction The class calendar of assignments helps student manage their workloads. The Reflection Assignment gives students the opportunity to identify changes they would like to make to their writing tasks and processes. Social and Cross-Cultural Skills Through the course discussion board and PeerMark, students learn to interact and communicate with people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Productivity and Accountability Once students receive feedback through Turnitin, PeerMark and GradeMark, students are held accountable for that feedback in either a Reflection Assignment or Revision Assignment. Leadership and Responsibility AASL LEARNING OUTCOME Share Knowledge PeerMark is fundamental to the learning outcomes under leadership and responsibility as students evaluate one another s writing, constructively communicate that feedback to their peers, and work together on the common goal of effective writing. TURNITIN ALIGNMENT Through the course discussion board and PeerMark, students learn to interact and communicate with people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Participate Ethically and Productively as Members of Our Democratic Society The course discussion board provides a forum for students to discuss values and diverse points of view. PeerMark asks students to provide assessment of peer writing to enhance the learning of others. Pursue Personal and Aesthetic Growth All of the features of Turnitin aid a student s personal and aesthetic growth. Through OriginalityCheck, PeerMark and GradeMark, students can learn valuable new skills of time management, collaborative learning, and good writing practice. P21 Skills Area #3: Life & Career Skills The P21 leaders explained the importance of this skills area, Life and Career, as follows: Today s life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 12

13 4.0 Conclusion 4.1 Turnitin Offers a Unified Solution for Teaching Content Knowledge through Process-Oriented Writing in a 21 st Century Online Environment Many instructors have struggled with taking time away from content instruction to introduce students to 21st century skills. Respected education constituencies make strong cases that students need both. Striking a balance is a big challenge in the classroom. Instructors need a unifying technology that can enhance their teaching of critical thinking and problem solving while addressing subject content. The National Council of Teachers of English acknowledges that writing in the content areas enables students to demonstrate a more complete understanding of their course content (NCTE, 2008). The Council encourages teachers to create assignments that help students learn core subjects through writing. Process-oriented writing tasks are key, including multiple rounds of formative assessment. The Council also points out that within the 21st century, students should work with digital technologies that influence the processes, circulation, and evaluation of writing (NCTE, 2008). Turnitin is a set of web-based tools that offers students and teachers a process-oriented approach to learning through writing. Turnitin offers a solution to instructors wishing to balance the teaching of core content with 21st century skills. This solution also helps instructors in managing assignments and enhancing feedback on student writing. As students interact with one another in the digital community, they can receive multiple rounds of formative feedback from one another, reflect on that feedback, and make improvements to their writing. In addition to mastering core subjects through Turnitin, students are practicing 21st century collaborative, decision-making skills within a digital learning environment. This unifying educational experience, led by the instructor, better prepares students to succeed in the highly competitive global environment. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 13

14 5.0 References Levy, F. & Murnane, R. (2004). The new division of labor: How computers are creating the next job market. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. National Council of Teachers of English (2008). Writing Now: A Policy Research Brief. Retrieved June 10, 2009, from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (n.d.). P21 Framework Definitions Document. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from The American Association of School Librarians (2009). Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Retrieved November 10, 2009 from All products and services mentioned in this document are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners iparadigms, LLC. All rights reserved. Version WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 14

15 About the Authors Renee Bangerter Bangerter has been a composition instructor for 14 years, integrating technology into her pedagogy from the start. Her teaching experience ranges from high school to community college to university courses. As Associate Professor of English at Fullerton College she was instrumental in training faculty in the practical uses of technology in their courses, including implementing Turnitin. She teaches English at Saddleback College in California. Glen McCandless McCandless has been at the forefront of developments in educational technology since the early 1980s. He is an analyst and journalist who follows and reports on trends in the use of technology for teaching and learning. He is also a consultant to software developers and publishers of curriculum-support products, a member of the Education Writers Association, the Association of Educational Publishers and the Software and Information Industry Association s Education Division. Bill Oates Oates has developed educational software, used it in teaching, trained other teachers, and published groundbreaking research on educational technology. His publications include surveys of technology in schools and colleges as well as Computers in English and the Language Arts, a book by the National Council of Teachers of English. With more than 25 years in educational technology, Bill now focuses on high-quality communications services to the industry through Oates Associates. WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 15

16 About Turnitin and iparadigms, LLC iparadigms, LLC is the world's leading provider of web-based solutions for plagiarism prevention. The company's products include Turnitin, used by educators worldwide to check students' papers for originality, to enable web-based peer review and for digital grading of student work. The company's solutions check millions of documents each month and are used in over 125 countries. iparadigms is headquartered in Oakland, CA and is backed by Warburg Pincus. Turnitin is a service of iparadigms, LLC 1111 Broadway, 3rd Floor Oakland CA, USA USA/Canada: International: WHITE PAPER Turnitin: A Web-Based Solution for Collaborative Writing in the 21 st Century 16

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