Brainwriting is a brainstorming activity in which students share their ideas in writing rather than through verbal discussion. This makes it adaptable for students who are learning from home.

In a brainwriting session, teachers pose an intriguing question or problem to students. Learners brainstorm answers or solutions then record these in writing.

Learners then review the answers or solutions of their peers and add to these in writing – they can add comments, extend or expand upon the ideas. After reviewing and commenting on the work of all their peers, learners will have collaboratively developed an extensive list of rich solutions or answers without the need for face-to-face discussion.

Brainwriting challenges learners to think creatively and critically as they develop unique ideas and then take the time to reflect carefully on the ideas of their peers.

As Heslin (2009) explains, “despite its immense popularity, when groups of people interact for the purpose of brainstorming, they significantly overestimate their productivity and produce fewer unique ideas than nominal groups of people generating ideas alone. In contrast, research has revealed that brainwriting yields superior idea generation than either non-sharing or nominal groups” (pp. 129-130).

Using brainwriting while students are learning from home enables collaboration between learners to flourish despite physical distance. Online collaborative whiteboard tools can enable successful brainwriting while learning and teaching from home.

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