(Atlanta GA, January 15, 2007). An exciting new web-based writing software is getting great reviews from teachers and students alike. I Can Write Online (www.icanwriteonline.com) launched in the Fall of 2006, covers the major writing genres (descriptive, narrative, expository and persuasive) and can meet a variety of classroom and school needs. Teachers in Georgia and South Carolina were recently asked to give feedback on how they used the software and the results they were getting.

Some schools use it primarily for Before and After School programs with both struggling as well as successful writers. Students can use the software with or without a teacher´s help. A usability study (Zhu, 2004) conducted at the University of Georgia found that students in Grades 3 and 4 who used the software prototype found it to be intuitive and user friendly with helpful auditory directions. These students also used revision tools extensively and preferred writing on the computer to writing manually.

Students in a second grade class in a Georgia elementary school used the Descriptive Writing path to describe a favorite place for this year´s PTA Reflections competition and made a clean sweep for first, second and third places. In a South Carolina pilot school, an instructional coach who used the software weekly with students who scored "below basic" in the state writing exam found that all students but one moved to the "basic" writing level. At the same time, state writing scores for students in the pilot schools´ third and fifth graders went up considerably.

Another teacher found that the software made grading writing easier. Instead of lugging crates of student writing home, she logged in to the Teacher Administrative screens on her home computer to view students´ writing and write comments that are sent via the Internet to the student´s revise screen. The teacher can quickly see how many pieces the student has written in each genre, the stage of writing and the last time the student worked on the piece. This "tracking" information supports the grading of process as well as product. Likewise, parents can log in and check their child´s writing progress.

What about student reviews? Chasie, age 9, says "I Can Write Online helps kids because it offers constant help if it is needed." Breanna, age 11, writes "I Can Write Online is very helpful &.{because} it helps you get your story organized in prewriting before you write your draft." A fifth grade Georgia teacher stated that students love to check for her comments on the Revise Screen. As Amber, age 9 stated, I love it "because you can get on it anywhere. I can get on it at home. Can you?"

Teachers like the same thing that Amber likes. As the fifth grade teacher wrote, "It saves paper, time and maybe even a few frazzled teachers like me." To learn more about this online writing software, go to www.icanwriteonline.com, sign up for a free trial and/or download the Getting Started Tutorial.

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