Web-Based Software–Useful Tool for Children, Parents and Teachers Alike

(Atlanta GA, May 17, 2005). The new web-based software, I Can Write Online (www.icanwriteonline.com) is receiving positive responses from parents, teachers and students. The authors of this software queried users at each level recently for feedback on how well the software helped children write.

Teachers like Jennifer Rice in GA write, "Words cannot express the excitement that my students get when they are asked to go to I Can Write Online and work on their writing…. Once they start writing, they don´t want to stop until they get to the final draft … I Can Write Online takes the writing process and puts it into a format that´s kid friendly and fun."

This program is especially well liked by both teachers and parents because it scaffolds the writing process. Traditionally, students have been given writing assignments with a pre-determined prompt. With I Can Write Online, students choose their own topics and have nine unique graphic organizers that provide structure for organizing their pieces and working through the first draft. On subsequent screens, parents or teachers can write comments for revision and editing.

The bottom line is the software provides a friendly, supportive tool for writing. A study by Zhu (2004) who videotaped students faces, voices, fingers on the keyboard and the computer screen, found the program to be intuitive and user friendly with auditory directions from friendly Freddy the Frog. On their own, students demonstrated they could use revision tools extensively. Parents who may not have writing expertise can rely on this program for guidance in supporting their child´s writing.

A Georgia third grade parent "My child has never been so excited about writing. He can´t wait to get on the program. It is a great way to help children to organize their writing and to help them to write." A second grader´s mom said: "It was neat that he can get online and do it (write) on his own. He could write and see it right there. It was more important because it was on the computer."

Students like Chasie, a third grader in SC, writes: "I Can Write Online helps kids, because it offers constant help if it is needed." Another third grader in SC, Amber, stated, "I love it because you can get on it anywhere. I can get on it at home. Can you?" Well, Amber, anyone can get on the website anywhere or at anytime. It does not rely on a particular operating system or browser. You simply have to be connected to the Internet. It is totally self-contained with a student´s writing saved on the creators´ server and printable without having to be exported to another program.

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