By Jennifer Demski
During what might have in the distant past been called "quiet time" in Arlene Anderson's fourth-grade classroom, many of her students are glued to their netbooks. The intense, enthusiastic focus and the hushed chatter amongst the students are all about high scores and strategy. But the students aren't playing video games. Instead, they're revising and editing their writing assignments within a web-based application that instantly assesses their writing skills and suggests ways to improve their work before turning the assignments in to their teacher. "For students, the software is an amazing self-motivator for writing, editing, and reviewing their writing," explains Anderson. "They're constantly working at learning the skills that will raise their scores."
The software and netbooks are part of the Saugus Union School District's (CA) Student Writing Achievement Through Technology Enhanced Collaboration (SWATTEC) initiative, one of a number of similar tech-supported initiatives that encourage writing across the curriculum. At the same time, the Saugus initiative is helping to prove that schools can see improvement in student achievement and engagement by harnessing 21st century tools to enhance writing skills.
Via Gregg Festa
Via Jim Lerman