Technical Writing for Skill Development

Project Summary


Student Pages


Subject: Language Arts

Grade Level: 9-12

Abstract: Recent research is indicating that engaging students in authentic technical writing can improve student performance in all areas of the curriculum. Students involved in this project will work in peer review groups, on-line mentors and mathematics, science, social studies and language arts teachers and a project facilitator to learn the technical writing process and publish technical writing pieces on student designed web pages.

Learner Description/Environment: This project will be conducted in an urban, alternative high school with students in grades 9-12. Students attending this school do so because they have not been successful in traditional schools. Most have had severe discipline problems and are performing well below grade level at this time. Class periods are 45 minutes with 15 minute smoke and "fooling around" time. It is difficult to keep these students engaged in learning processes for 45 minutes. Classes tend to be small. The enrollment of the school is 125 and class sizes range in size from five to twelve. Each classroom has four Power Macintoshes. Each of these computers will soon have access to the Internet. Access to the Internet is very limited at this time.

Time Frame: Projected project start date is April 9, 1998. Instruction will be completed during the first week, followed by guided practice and collaboration for three weeks.

Rationale: Recent research indicates that engaged student learning that stretches student thinking and social skills can have a tremendous impact on students. This project will be designed to engage students in on-line dialog with instructors and mentors to enhance learning and make their learning more authentic.

Learner Outcomes: The learners will gain a working knowledge of technical writing, apply technical knowledge to authentic projects, and publish technical writing.

Alignment with Standards: Writing, mathematics, language arts and communications, and social studies standards will be addressed. Language Arts Standards

Structure of the Learning:

Content: Writing

Process: On-line research, peer review, dialogs and collaboration with mentors, instructors and facilitator to produce technical writing pieces for local non-profit organizations.

Product: Web pages with technical writings written by students for local non-profit organizations.

Assessment: A rubric will developed collaboratively by the facilitator, students, instructors and mentors.

Project/Unit Evaluation: Evaluations will include surveys of all project participants, student attendance during the project period and the percentage of web pages completed and published.

Created for the Fermi lab Line program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermi lab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Author: Becky Billigmeier
School: Turner Unified School District, Kansas City, KS
Created: May 9, 1998