Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Great Source Iwrite

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Great Source Iwrite

Article excerpt

MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL SOFTWARE/WEB SITES

***** REPORT CARD

Installation A

Content/Features A

Ease of Use A

Product Support A

Located online: www.greatsource.com/iwrite.

Company: Great Source Education Group (a division of Houghton Mifflin Co.), P.O. Box 7050, Wilmington, MA 01887. Phone: (800) 289-4490 (Option 4); Email: through the online contact link.

Access Fee: iwrite is a free Web site. No access fee is required.

Audience: This site is designed for students in grades 5-12, teachers, and parents. Teachers of younger students will find useful material here that can be adapted, even though most younger students can't use this site effectively.

Format: iwrite is a Web-based writing resource with a pleasantly designed visual interface and easy-to-use navigation. The site offers some animation and video but doesn't rely heavily on these graphic aids.

Minimum System Requirements: This site is available on any computer with Internet access. Much of the material will work nicely on older computers with slower access.

Description: iwrite is a collection of writing resources for educators, students, and parents. The material combines some components of the Write Source curriculum with online writing support and other materials designed to help improve student writing. Great Source iwrite is intended to supplement existing curriculum programs.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: I accessed iwrite with a 933-MHz PC with a Pentium III processor, Windows Me, and a standard modem. In addition, I worked with the program using an older Windows machine on a school network.

Use was easy, although some elements (especially animations and videos) were slow to load via modem access. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: Great Source iwrite offers a large repository of writing aids, an electronic version of an experienced teacher's (or several experienced teachers') writing files and bookshelves, "how-to" tips, and more. The material includes lesson ideas, student help, and content for parents, as well as the practical knowledge that teachers gather during the course of many years in the classroom.

The enormous advantages of this site are, of course, that the material can be accessed online from any location and that using or searching this content is so much easier than going through a file cabinet or many books. The expertise used to create the site, which has led to the inclusion of materials that experience and testing have found to work the best, is also helpful.

From the home page, users can begin a practice writing exercise, read featured articles, access resources on the latest in writing instruction in The BUZZ, study grammar in the Grammar Handbook (a collection of animated grammar lessons), or click the Educators, Students, or Parents tabs for more choices. The home page also offers a 6-Traits tutorial, where users can learn about this popular and effective writing guide.

Students can immediately begin a writing project by clicking on one of the Forms of Writing links (narrative, persuasive, expository, research, and response to literature). The links are available on all of the site's pages and lead to the same basic processes, aids, links, and more-specific information.

The Educators tab takes teachers to a page that offers a For New Teachers section, information about state writing standards, mini lessons, assessment rubrics, and writing prompts. …

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