Friday, April 23, 2004

A Professor Responds by Computer to the Writing of Elementary Students.

A Professor Responds by Computer to the Writing of Elementary Students. This is a quaint article from 1992. This was from when e-mail was new and novel.

From the site:

During the Summer of 1990, I responded to the writing of 20 fourth through seventh graders from a computer installed in my home in Bloomington, Indiana by the Bartholomew County (Indiana) Community School Corporation. Working daily with their classroom teacher in a summer school computer writing class that drew students from all over Columbus, Indiana, the students sent me 263 pieces of writing in 4 weeks. The experience is one that I will never forget, and one that I hope the young writers and their teacher, Vickie Osman, enjoyed.

The students wrote their drafts on Microsoft Works. Then their teacher attached their files to messages that she sent by modem to me with an electronic mail program called CCMail. Microsoft Works is essentially a user-friendly program that presented few problems to the upper elementary students as they wrote daily anything ranging from a 3-line haiku to 10 to 20 computer-screen stories. Only a few students seemed to have any difficulty composing on a computer. Occasionally, messages were scrambled or even lost because of faulty commands, but no one quit because of technical difficulties. At times, Mrs. Osman and I decided that we were experiencing more problems than the students, primarily because we were working with 20 times as many messages as each individual student. She had to make certain that all of the students' writing (sometimes as many as 40 a day) were attached to her CCMail message to me. I had to make certain that I responded daily to all messages sent by these students, who had just completed grades 3 through 6.

Of the 20 students enrolled in the class, 2 entered fourth grade the following fall; 9 entered fifth; 5 were eligible for sixth; 4 would be in seventh.

Asked on a questionnaire to report their average grade in English, 5 noted that they earned mostly A's; 7 received B's; 3 C's; 5 D's and F's.


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