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Re: K-12 & technical communication
Cindy, let me try and answer your questions.
>** are there any textbooks on technical communication for middle
>and/or high school students? are textbooks being used for this, or
>do teachers supplement with their own materials?
If I use anything, it usually comes off of Dean Rehberger's Matrix website
at MSU--<http://matrix.msu.edu> Some Yale Style Guide stuff is there, plus
how to's for Composer, etc. But you can find that kind of stuff all over
the web. I just know it's on the matrix site, so I go there. The url is in
my head. As for a book, I haven't seen anything, but I also haven't been
looking. I generally hate the textbook way and prefer to put together my
>** does anyone here teach pre-college courses called "Technical
>Writing" or "Technical Communication"? or are these assignments
>worked in as part of overall writing courses?
>** what kind of computer access to students have? labs? one or two
>computers in a classroom? non-classroom access only? (yes, I know
>there isn't just one answer to this -- I'm wondering about the
Ah, access. The custodian just punched a hole in my room today and pulled
the wire so that I will finally have internet access in my room. The
computer hasn't arrived, and there's nothing connected to the wire at the
other end. But I got me some wire. I've published 9 articles in the past
two years about computers in the k-12 classroom, and the only computer I
have in my room is my old Gateway. It limps.
>** is it even possible to work with desktop publishing or online
>documentation without having computers in class?
Well, depends on what you call "computers in class". I have limited access
to a three year old networked and connected pc lab. Competition for time in
the lab is intense at times. We have a sign up sheet. In fact, I'm the
keeper of the sign up sheet, and mother duck to the lab. But access to the
lab is not consistent. Our school has 460 students.
>** do you have recommendations for articles that focus on Tech Comm
>in middle or high school?
Well, as a matter of fact...I had an article in English Journal a year ago
last September (1999) and another one in November of 2000. The September
article dealt the on-line research and the website projects my students do.
The November article dealt with the ways in which we can help students read
on-line materials. Gloria Pipkin and I co-author a column in NCTE's middle
school journal (Voices from the Middle) that is about technology. We align
our column to the theme of the issue. That last issue dealt with grammar.
The one coming out in May deals with reluctant readers. We put in the tech
spin. The name of the column is Tech Connect. I also had an article come
out in Voices in March of 2000 that dealt with how I got started with
technology and what I do.
Lori Mayo has an excellent article in the January 2001 (?) issue of EJ. And
she and Ted have a good article in Kairos 5.1. Ted has a chapter in Weaving
the Virtual Web edited by Syblle Gruber. And though she doesn't teach high
school or middle school, I thought Dene Grigar's chapter about her students
in The Dialogic Classroom (What Is Seen Depends on How Everybody is Doing
Everything: Using Hypertext to Teach Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons) was
excellent and would be helpful for secondary teachers.
Also, both Voices in the Middle and English Journal have had whole issues
devoted to tech in the classroom. The November 2000 issue of EJ was the
tech issue, and the March 2000 issue of Voices was a tech issue.
Jim Strickland has a little book out called From Disk to Hard Copy which
might be helpful to teachers who are just getting started with technology.
I have a book at school (it's purple, does that help?) called something like
Using Technology in the Student Centered Classroom. I think it's published
>** can you recommend any URLs with sample assignments? syllawebs? curricula?
You can check out my website at <http://www.npatterson.net/mid.html> I
haven't updated it but I think I will try this weekend. I have a bunch of
students urls to add to it. And I think you have Ted's website. As soon as
Lori gets back from the conference she can post her url.
Nancy G. Patterson
Portland Middle School, English Dept. Chair
Portland, MI 48875
"To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can
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