The Internet is rich with resources for language arts teachers who want to make better use of their classroom computers. These resources are the work of many teachers, students, and researchers who have pushed these emerging technologies hard to discover their promises, their limitations, and their dangers.
One good place to find out what they've learned is the Alliance for Computers and Writing, an organization of people in and out of education interested in a wide variety of issues involving computers and writing. The ACW site will lead you to RhetNet and Kairos, two internet-based journals that show and tell the possibilities of writing (and learning) online.
Paying dues ($10) to the ACW will give you a huge discount off a subscription to Computers and Composition, probably the best (paper-based) academic journal on the subject available.
While you're poking around the ACW site, don't overlook the Links page for sites with good ideas. Below are some others that might help.
Mustang: A Web Cruising Vehicle for Teachers, another great beginning site, will help teachers learn to develop and manage web-based learning projects. This site offers directories of resources that help teachers develop efficient research methods for the web, deciper useful information, and turn it into worthwhile Internet projects. You'll find an excellent resource page for language arts teachers.
Using MOOs in the classroom can be an interesting online project, and they can help students learn in ways that can't be done in a non-MOO environment. Composition is Cyberspace is the best place on the web to start learning more about where and how to use them. The LinguaMOO is a great place to go for teachers. You'll find instructions, explanations, and lots of other teachers there. You might also want to check out High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory of Educational MOOs, by Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik, a paper-based resource you can find at one of the online booksellers (you know which ones).
Are your interests in online journalism?? Unbound is an online news magazine edited by students at The College of New Jersey. Kim Pearson, the faculty advisor, writes "The editors invite article ideas and submissions from everyone -- not just students. We are also interested in working with faculty who want to use UNBOUND in the classroom -- whether it's having students write essays for us, having students critique the site design, or coming up with joint projects that could be the focus of a special issue."
Looking for a good online research project? Why not ask students to explore issues and concerns about teaching American literature? Georgetown University's Electronic Archives is a deep resource that houses essays, bibliographies, and other materials to support T-AMLIT, a listserv about teaching American literatures. Also archived are indexed transcripts from previous discussions on T-AMLIT, where students can see literature teachers actually constructing knowledge about teaching.
Want to talk to people around the world interested in a specific field? Chatrooms are nice and kids seem fairly comfortable with them, but they limit exchanges to short statements, which doesn't encourage much extended critical thinking. If there's a subject your students want to explore in more depth, why not let them subscribe to an email listserv, or discussion group? You'll find a listserv for just about every subject at Tile.net. Lurking on a discussion groups for a few days or week will give you the chance to help students see proper netiquette (net etiquette) in action.
Looking for teachers and students at other schools to collaborate with on Internet research project? Get your kicks on Web66, the international school web site registry. the most comprehensive on the web.
Looking for a reading list about the cyberworld? Check out Ted Nellen's Book List. Better yet, let your students check it out and tell you what they find.
Matthew G. Kirschenbaum tells what he learned about teaching writing in a computerized classroom in Once Upon a Time in ENWR: The World-Wide Web as a Publication Medium for Student Essays
K-12 Sources - Curriculum - Lesson Plans
Yahoo's List of K-12 Resources on the Web
Looking for software? Try these sites:
CommonSpace (Houghton Mifflin-Sixth Floor Media) pretty straightforward, but powerful and capable composition software. Don't miss this.
Dialogue (MagicTree Software) lets you add an interactive message board to your web page.
Etudes and Web Course in a Box (web-based distance education server software) lets you run a distance ed. course over the web from your school server.
Eastgate Systems is the place to go for hypertext software, like Storyspace. Go there to find hypertext fiction, poetry, and other creative projects.
ListBot lets you set up your own email listserv for free.
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