National Writing Project

Writing + Modern Technology = Student Success

National Writing Project Launches Technology Initiative

For Immediate Release


Washington, D.C., October 18, 2004 —Gone are mimeograph machines, film projectors, and encyclopedias. They've been replaced by desktop publishing, iMovies, and the Internet. As writing skills have become more important than ever in this age of instant communication, select National Writing Project (NWP) teachers are keeping up with the times by gaining firsthand experience in using technology to improve their students' writing abilities.

Thanks to the support of Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV), teachers at the Marshall University Writing Project in Huntington, West Virginia, will have the opportunity to take part in a new professional development program designed to enable teachers to take advantage of new technologies. "I'm very pleased that the National Writing Project Technology Initiative has chosen the Marshall University Writing Project as one of the sites for this very exciting and innovative program," said Senator Rockefeller. "The Marshall University Writing Project and the National Writing Project have always been creative in the kind of professional development they offer to teachers. Now, through the incorporation of technology, they will make writing and communication even more appealing to teachers and students, whose computers are often their window on the world."  

Senator Rockefeller has not only been a long-time advocate for the National Writing Project but a leader in the use of technology in education. As part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Rockefeller and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) created E-Rate to provide Internet communication for schools, libraries, and rural health care centers. In 1996, only 14 percent of America 's classrooms had Internet access. By 2002, 92 percent were wired.

Four other writing project sites in Alaska, California, Michigan, and New York also were chosen to pilot the NWP Technology Initiative. These sites have already developed program models and approaches to the uses of technology to improve learning and the teaching of writing. The purpose of the lead sites is to offer, document, and assess high-quality professional development models for teaching students in all grade levels and all subjects.

"What might teachers encounter in these programs that will give their students an edge?" asks Richard Sterling, executive director of the NWP. "Take the science teacher who has always assigned students to write lab reports and turn them into the teacher to grade. With new technology, this teacher could help students put their reports on a website or blog so that students around the world could, for example, do joint water quality experiments or projects on climate change."

Senator Rockefeller encouraged the National Writing Project to launch this technology initiative because of its track record with high quality professional development opportunities and its excellent reputation with teachers and schools. But even more significant is NWP's commitment to preparing all students to be powerful learners and writers in a digital world. The ultimate beneficiaries of this initiative will be students across the nation who will know what technology can do for them.


A federally funded program, NWP serves over 100,000 teachers a year at 185 university sites in 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its professional development model, NWP builds the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help their students become successful writers and learners.

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