National Writing Project

Letters to the President: Part of a Shifting Mindset in Education

Publication: ZDNet
Date: January 23, 2009

Summary: An article on ZDNet Education profiles Letters to the Next President, a project co-sponsored by NWP and Google, and details what Internet-based software could mean for education.


Excerpt from Article

Letters to the Next President began last spring when Google partnered with the National Writing Project. Mr. Chang knew of students and schools using Google Docs to write scripts, poetry, keep daily journals, etc., and was looking for new ways to get students engaged in writing. Ultimately, 235 teachers in 45 states responded to the call to have their students use Google Docs to write letters to the next president, using all of the collaboration features in Docs for peer review, teacher edits, and even editing by parents and administrators.

Perhaps more importantly, students were able to be part of a shifting mindset in education. Whereas even five years ago, the final step in writing was a final, typed version of an assignment handed in to a teacher, the final step now is publication. Well over 6,000 letters were published via Google Docs and collected in a Google mashup using Google Maps to show the locations of the students writing the letters (at the city/town level and only if approved by the teacher, allowing for enough anonymity, even in small towns, for students to openly express themselves).


"Letters to the President" at ZDNet

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