This article describes my experiment with surveillance technology as a composition teaching tool in a computer classroom. The technology, a software program called Remote Desktop, displayed live on my lectern screen all of my students' activities on their computers. While I first intended mainly to use Remote Desktop to monitor students' focus on assigned tasks, I quickly became interested in the pedagogical possibilities it presented. Because I could read students' work as they were composing it, I could intervene quickly when they were struggling and offer near-instant feedback; I could also guide class discussions by identifying patterns of weakness to address, strong examples to share, or the single answer a given student had gotten right to praise. I could anticipate how debates might unfold among students with differing opinions, or how similarly minded students might offer support to one another. While these strategies might have been possible without the technology, they were significantly facilitated by it — especially because this group of students was particularly underprepared and found discussion difficult. Class time became more productive and built their confidence in their own abilities as readers, writers, and editors.

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