Supporting Creative Writing With Technology
Even creative writing can be supported through specific uses of technology. The National Commission on Writing recommends that using technology tools can help motivate writers because often an aspect of technology-based writing is publishing the writing in some form (Anonymous, 2005). One project, titled The Pigman—Chapter Sixteen, developed by Eileen Skarecki of Columbia Middle School in New Jersey, seems to have this potential. In this project, students read the popular adolescent novel The Pigman, which, in Skarecki’s words, “leaves the reader hanging.” Her response? Have students write a final chapter and post the submissions on the Internet for others to read and respond to.
This simple activity of placing their work on the Internet for public access inspires many students to take their work more seriously and to engage in a level of reflection about their work that is otherwise rare. It will also cause them to write with a purpose, to think critically about what they write, to read what others have produced, and to compare their own work to the work of others. In addition to this new level of reflection inspired by Internet publishing, it is possible to design activities that cause students to be more reflective—to think about their work and the work of others in ways that lead to academic growth.
Kidscribe (http://www.kidscribe.org) is a simple Web site that was created to provide young writers with a forum for publishing personal writing in either English or Spanish. The creator of Kidscribe wanted to provide an outlet that would build the young author’s sense of confidence and pride in his or her own work while also providing an opportunity for site users to see creative writing samples in two languages and without the presence of commercial advertisements. Although the site offers no writing supports per se, it is easy to use and could be effectively used with teacher instruction on writing, especially for teachers who have limited resources (e.g., server space) for doing their own Web publishing of student work.
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