Draftback for Chrome

Dear my beloved blog, I’m sorry for neglecting you so horrendously! I’ve had a few hiatuses since starting this site, but this has been by far and away the most extended one. I’m aiming to get back into the habit of regular writing now that I’m finally settled into my teaching roles here in Sydney.

I thought I’d start off nice and gently with a plug for a very cool Chrome extension that a colleague showed me the other day.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.40.23 pm

For those who don’t know it, Draftback is an extension for Chrome that draws upon the revisions you make to a document on Google Docs and plays them back for you as a video. It shows adjustments by anyone with editing access in chronological order and with a running time stamp at the top of the video. You can watch your work in real time or speed it up to 6 times the pace. This should be evident in the video below, which shows how I edited this blog post in Google Docs from separate gmail accounts. The video that the extension produces remain private unless you choose to publicise it (as I have here).

Draftback also produces a graphic representation of the writing and revision that occurred.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.56.16 pm

On its Chrome Web Store ad, Draftback claims to show the “archaeology of great writing.” And I guess it is…it allows writers and collaborators to view the process that they went through to develop their written texts. In terms of education, what a fantastic tool for helping students to recognise the evolution of their work, to help them understand that writing is a continual process of revision, editing and improvement, even for the strongest writers. I can see opportunities for using this tool with my students to encourage the reflective process of learning, and also to understand how their writing evolved when I wasn’t standing over their shoulder watching!

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2 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this tool. What a fascinating way to demonstrate the process of composition for students.

    1. I completely agree. On a side note, as well as being a teaching tool, it can be highly entertaining! My colleague and I watched how a group task where three girls working on separate laptops put a collaborative story together and edited it. Hilarious results!

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