Project 1: Writers Network
The Writers' Network and "Windows: Newfoundland and Labrador's Young Writers" together form a project to foster excellence in student writing within all grades and communities of the province, to develop computer literacy and critical thinking skills, and to connect young people from all around Newfoundland and Labrador through their common love of writing.
Students are able to post their original writing to one of the Writers' Network three student newsgroups. They then have the opportunity to read the postings of other students and send constructive criticisms to form a thread. Once students receive this feedback from their peers they can edit their work and post a final version to the newsgroup. An online editorial board made up of teachers from around the province choose exemplary pieces from those posted as final versions and submit them to the Holy Heart Publishing Centre where they are put together to form the journal Windows: Newfoundland and Labrador's Young Writers.
The "user-friendliness" of the Writers' Network World Wide Web homepage has already overcome the hesitation of English teachers reluctant to use unfamiliar technology. It has also made the project accessible and appealing in ways and for clients not considered when it was originally designed. There is reason to believe that the other initiatives underway at the school will develop in breadth and depth in the same manner.
Usage statistics indicate that, in the months since its establishment, the Writers' Network has become one of the most frequently used of the STEM~Net newsgroups. And while it is not possible to know specifics about the impact on all those involved, feedback from educators, parents and students emphasizes the positive effect of the process and the importance of its continued development. The value of the project was further reinforced recently when Prentice-Hall Publishers asked to include its description in a new curriculum guide and discussed with STEM~Net the possibility of opening the Network to the rest of the country. On an even more global scale, educators in New Zealand have expressed a similar interest. Locally the project continues to develop, as evidenced by the fact that it has recently been added to the RINGS program.
Through access to the World Wide Web students will: