Friday, October 3, 2008


Americans Believe Computers Have Positive Effect On Writing Skills
The 2007 Survey on Teaching Writing (PDF)

"Writing is the basis for most of our electronic communication today," said Richard Sterling, executive director of the National Writing Project. "The American public recognizes that our nation's educators need support for learning to use technology tools to teach writing in this digital age," Sterling said.

The majority of Americans responding to the survey (74%) believe that becoming proficient in computer technology should be a high school graduation requirement, ranking its importance just below that of reading (94%) and writing (84%). Further, widely endorsed support for learning to use computers at a young age (76%), along with the belief that writing should be taught in all subjects and at all grade levels (74%), suggest that the public views technology as integral to learning to write well.

In addition, Americans generally agree that:
A variety of computer applications contribute positively to students' growth as writers.
Creative applications such as PowerPoint presentations, doing homework on a computer, creating Web pages, writing blogs, and emailing friends and family actually help young people to become better writers.
Mixed views registered on some specific uses:
Spell-check programs received a mixed response, with 51% saying they hinder learning to spell, and 43% saying they help.
Instant messaging received a negative response, with 60% of Americans saying it gets in the way of young people becoming better communicators.
Look at this picture...does it mean anything to you?

Now read this letter (from a friend, Jann Montgomery-with permission to post)

I used to sit in my Grandma’s pantry for hours. I’d shut the door sometimes. I’d even brave turning out the light and sit there in the dark. It smelled like spices and cookies and my Grandma. I’d go in looking for treasures. I’d always find one too. When she knew I was coming, my Grandma would buy Buffalo Rock ginger ale. I’d spot the little bottles sitting on the floor of the pantry - yellow label, brown writing. But the best part was when I brought her one of the bottles. We would go in the kitchen together and she would let me pick out one of the special glasses that lived in the tall mahogany cabinet that no one was allowed to open without her. I’d always pick out the same one, the glass with the orange carousel giraffe on it. She’d put the ice in it – clink, clink, clink. I’d wait. She’d open the bottle with that familiar fizz. I’d wait. But the pouring, I could never wait. I’d inch my nose closer and closer to the glass until I could feel the bubbles from the fizz pop and burn in my nose.
I now have that glass, along with the rest of the carousel animals, in that tall mahogney cabinet that no one was allowed to open without her. I sometimes buy a Buffalo Rock, the one with the yellow label and the brown writing. I pour it myself and remember.

So, you tell me how powerful is writing? Students need to be empowered, emotional involved (Senses), encouraged to be creative... Blogs, Wikis, Online Journals, Digital Books, Creating books with Scrapblog, Digital have their place in the classroom.

Jann...a special memory for me would be the smell of my mom's cedar chest that was to become mine when I got married. The cedar chest stayed in the attic with my mom's wedding dress, pictures, high-school memorabilia etc. I can remember as a kid sneaking up into the attic just to see what was really in that cedar chest that was to become mine one day. I never did make it to actually opening it up and taking a peak until I was a freshman in high-school. I can remember the smell of fresh cedar the first time my mom sat down with me to share all of those love notes from my dad, pictures, her wedding dress, glasses...I felt so special to see all of the neat things that my mom had saved. I also remember her saying "It is time...time for this to become your hope-chest...a chest I hope full of wonderful dreams for you." My freshman year, my mom began to put things in my hope-chest... things for college and for the day I would get married. Many years have past with a lot of memories stored from that hope-chest. That hope-chest was destroyed in the March 2008 tornadoe that hit our house. Today, I own a piece of that hope-chest and the smell of fresh cedar still remains on that piece.

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