National Writing Project

News from the NWP Electronic Design Team: Technology Liaison Updates

By: Karen McComas, Pat Delaney
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 7, No. 5
Date: November-December 2002

Summary: Learn more about NWP's Technology Liaison Project.


Each year in February, members of the National Writing Project Electronic Design Team—a leadership team exploring the intersections of technology, writing, and learning—gather for an annual retreat to review the work of the previous year and map out the work for the coming year. The most recent design team retreat, held in February 2002, was one of multiple "firsts." It was our first retreat in Philadelphia, the first retreat with Michelle Rogge-Gannon joining Karen McComas as design team co-chairs, and the first retreat for new team members Albert Delgado, Pat Delaney, and Peter Booth.

Recently, the design team has been connecting with NWP networks and initiatives to discuss how technology might support the teaching of writing across different content areas and within different educational contexts. In addition to this recent work, the design team's major projects have been the Authors and Issues Online Conference, the summer E-Anthology, and the Technology Liaison Project. The focus of this article is on the NWP Technology Liaison Project.

The Unfolding Role of the Technology Liaison Project

Spring 2001 saw the start of a new type of technology initiative for the National Writing Project—the Technology Liaison Project. Backed by the ideas of the design team and financial support from NWP, new leadership opportunities became available for every writing project site that applied to participate in this new initiative. These new leaders, called technology liaisons, marked a technological transition for the National Writing Project. With more writing project work being conducted online, technology liaisons are a way for the NWP to provide support for local sites to upgrade the use and role of technology at each site.

In August 2001, a representative group of technology liaisons, site directors, and NWP staff members gathered in Berkeley to sketch out the immediate future for the Technology Liaison Project. This group, known as the Technology Liaison Advisory Committee, planned and implemented a well-received program of events for the NWP Annual Meeting held in Baltimore last November. Since then, technology liaisons have collaborated online with one another, sharing ideas, tips, strategies, software recommendations, models, and headaches!

In spring 2002, technology liaisons and their site directors completed and submitted technology updates, providing the design team and the advisory committee with information regarding the state of technology development overall and at individual sites.

Annual Meeting Opportunities for Technology Liaisons

In July 2002, the advisory committee gathered once again in Berkeley. The data from the technology updates formed the core of the discussion and helped shape the program of events for technology liaisons for the 2002 NWP Annual Meeting to be held in Atlanta in November.

Several exciting opportunities are planned for technology liaisons for Thursday, November 21, 2002, during the annual meeting. In the morning, there will be a workshop in a nearby computer lab. In this interactive, hands-on workshop designed specifically for technology liaisons, participants will explore weblog technology as a way to make visible their individual work as teachers or the work of their sites. During lunch, individuals may drop in to the computer lab for specific help on a number of different computer programs (see the annual meeting program booklet for a list of these programs or go to the annual meeeting web pages at the NWP website,

In the afternoon, technology liaisons will choose from the following sessions: a hands-on computer lab workshop exploring various asynchronous communication tools, a workshop focusing on how to conceive a web presence that meets multiple purposes and is appropriate for a variety of audiences, a session targeting new technology liaisons with an emphasis on understanding what it means to be a writing project site and how that information relates to technology liaisons in particular, a "mini" technology writing retreat, a session describing how technology supports the work of one site, and a session showcasing various examples of technology work at individual writing project sites. In addition to Thursday's activities, numerous sessions scheduled for Friday, November 22, 2002, will also focus on technology. Attendance at the computer lab sessions is limited, so technology liaisons will need to register early to ensure space in those sessions.


NWP Electronic Design Team Members

Karen McComas (Marshall University Writing Project, West Virginia), co-chair

Michelle Rogge-Gannon (Dakota Writing Project, South Dakota), co-chair

Peter Booth (Vermont Writing Project)

Shirley Brown (Philadelphia Writing Project)

Christina Cantrill (NWP Program Associate)

Pat Delaney (Bay Area Writing Project, California)

Albert Delgado (Chicago Writing Project)

Dolores Johnson (Marshall University Writing Project)

About the Author Pat Delaney is a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project, California, and Karen McComas is a co-director with the Marshall University Writing Project, West Virginia.

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