Project 2: Writers' Network(ongoing)
||Dean Williams (English Teacher, English Department Head)
|School:||O'Donel High School|
Mt. Pearl, NF
|Grade Level:||Grade 9 to Level III English students|
|Number of Students:
||50-60 depending on the availability of computer time and appropriate hardware.
|Project Start and Finish Dates:||September 1/97 - June 30/98|
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 compu
ter literacy and critical thinking skills, and to connect young people from all around Newfoundland and Labrador through their common love of writing.
Students can post their original writing to the Writers' Network student newsgroup. 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 pee
rs 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, chooses exemplary pieces from those posted as final versions and submit them to the Holy Heart Publishing Centr
e 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 a
nd for clients not considered when it was originally designed.
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. While it is not possible to know specifics about the impact on all of
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 was part of the RINGS program.
- to help develop in each child an understanding of self and others and an appreciation of the crucial role of language to that understanding.
- to create classroom and school environments which will motivate and encourage children to use and produce language. to develop students' creative and critical thinking skills.
- to use writing as a tool that deepens and extends imagination, intellect and emotion.
- to produce three student newsletters that will be made available to school community.
- to improve the writing skills of O'Donel students in order that they might avail of the more challenging courses such as Advanced Writing 3103.
- all schools and all grade levels in Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond, including input already received from more than 70 schools from around the province.
- at O'Donel High School the project will focus on students participating in the Language Arts courses, especially Advanced Writing 3103.
Intended Learning Outcomes
- the production of a variety of student writing representing a cross section of genres, grade levels and locales.
- participation in an online peer editing program.
- the exchange of ideas and opinions among participants.
- the production of a quality student magazine online and in print biannually.
Through access to the World Wide Web students will:
- post their own articles to the newsgroups of the Writers' Network.
- use the Writers' Network Homepage to read and respond to articles that have been posted by other students from around the province.
- read responses to their own posted articles and re-post a final version based on criticisms received to the appropriate Writers' Network newsgroup.
- prepare graphics images to accompany articles that are selected for Windows: Newfoundland and Labrador's Young Writers.
- use HTML and Netscape to publish an online version of the Windows journal.