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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Use New Technology to Reinforce Instruction
Publishing Student Work on the Internet (Part One: Why do it?)
Peggy Maslow

There are many good reasons to publish student work on the Internet. Whether for writing or creative projects, on-line exposure is a marvelous incentive. (This is a two-part column; the second one will discuss how to publish your students' work on the Internet.)

When students know they have an audience, other than the teacher, to view their work, they are often more motivated to produce a better product. Secondly, in the early stages of the writing or project, the students can help each other by first posting a preliminary draft on line such as in a free discussion forum, http://nicenet.org/, which anyone can easily use. (I will explain more about this later.) Additionally, students can learn from each other just by viewing each others' work.

When work is posted, students are given time to view or read each others' projects or writing and then comment. For comments on writing, I suggest students be allowed to respond in one of three ways:

  1. point out what they like about the piece of writing;
  2. summarize, so that the writer sees whether the writing is clear or not; and
  3. ask questions, for example, what they want to know more about or what is confusing. Students can also help one another by applying the given rubric or guidelines. The student helpers, as well as the original authors, will improve their skills. This is documented in numerous research studies and from my own experience as a teacher.

I hope you will find it helpful to see examples of how teachers publish their students' work.

New York City high school teacher Sandy Scragg published student work on her Catcher in the Rye unit.  Click on the project url link, scroll down and click student samples. Sandy simply scanned student projects and artwork and then inserted them onto a web page. She includes a rubric of how the work is graded.

Another example of publishing student work using a scanner is from third grade teacher Marion Peluso's lessons on China. Again, click on the project url  and then Student Showcase to view the work.

In the next example, students created their own on-line magazine. This lesson comes from Sandy Scragg's All the New Too Fit for Print.

In my unit 1984, by George Orwell - Fact or Fantasy? my students learn to upload their writing to the Internet. They create their own web pages, posting early drafts on http://nicenet.org/  and then help each other. For examples of their finished work, visit http://myclasssite.org/maslow/1984/essays.htm. More student web pages can be found in connection with my Interpreting Shakespeare's Macbeth unit. Or if you want to go directly to the student work click here.  For yet another group of students, those taking my unit Taking Action Against Indifference: Eli Wiesel's Night,  I provided a web page template to save time, and they created web pages with their writing. To see some this student work, click here

Some of the most advanced published student web pages I have seen have been done by Paul Allison's students who had extensive time during the school week in a computer lab. In that school, the teachers often coordinate their lessons, teaching collaboratively. One example is the Geometry Quilt. I should add that Paul Allison has taught three summer technology workshops for NYCWP (New York City Writing Project, based at Lehman College, CUNY). I learned most of what I know about using technology from two of these workshops, which are given every summer to NYCWP participants.

Do not think you have to be technically adept to post your students work on the Internet. Sandy Skea, a veteran elementary school teacher, but a novice with technology, posted her fascinating students' work on the Internet,  along with her first attempt at posting her unit that produced the student work. You will be amazed at how her first attempt is so accomplished.

Look for my next column on how to publish student work on the Internet.


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