PLATO Intermediate Writing Process and Practice

By Hixson, Susan W. | Multimedia & Internet@Schools, September-October 2004 | Go to article overview

PLATO Intermediate Writing Process and Practice


Hixson, Susan W., Multimedia & Internet@Schools


Company: PLATO Learning, Inc., 10801 Nesbitt Ave. South, Bloomington, MN 55437; Phone: 800/447-5268; E-mail: marketing@plate.com; Internet: http://www.PLATO.com/.

Price: $125--base price, annual school license, PLATO Web Learning Network. Pricing varies. Available only to schools, this product is offered as either an online interactive version or as a networked version (Pathways Manager) that can be installed on a school server.

Audience: Grades 7-9.

Format: Interactive Web site or Local Network work site.

Minimum System Requirements: Since PLATO Intermediate Writing Process and Practice is an interactive program, the faster and more powerful your computer and network are, the more efficiently the program will run.

Your computer must have Macromedia Shockwave Player and other PLATO extras. These can be loaded and installed with easy access through the PLATO Web site when first logging into the program. It is suggested that the instructor load all the needed tools on each computer before students log in for the first time.

Description: PLATO Intermediate Writing Process and Practice is designed to supplement and support the teaching of writing in the middle school years. The program contains levels of lessons with a focus on many of the specific writing skills set by NCTE and the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning Lab.

This is a review of the online version of PLATO Intermediate Writing Process and Practice.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The only installation that may be required is to download Macromedia Shockwave Player and make certain that you have the most recent Flash plug-in. If you need to upgrade, you will be guided to click on the links and download what is needed for your machine. Otherwise, you will simply need a browser and Internet access. Installation Rating:A

Content/Features: This program is designed to help students become effective writers by teaching writing skills and strategies with the use of models and activities. Most of the lessons are read aloud by the program. Lessons are carefully scaffolded so that learners build oil their skills and gain an understanding of the writing process. Two courses in writing strategies and grammar and mechanics are presented at each level.

After logging in to PLATO Intermediate Writing Process and Practice, the student is asked to select an activity, such as writing strategies or grammar and mechanics. Each has designated levels and modeled lessons that can be read aloud. Students are directed to read examples of sample work and analyze the techniques used to make the writing effective. The examples are clearly stated and the model samples are of high writing quality.

Practice is given in the areas of grammar usage and mechanics. In a mastery test, students are expected to get eight of 10 responses correct for successful completion. At the end of the mastery test, the results are added to the student's file and a certificate can be printed.

With administrative access to the account and a password, the teacher can select student activities and mastery tests. The teacher also can stipulate the amount of time available for lessons. …

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