Library Banner (20858 bytes)

Collection: Telecommunications

Purple arrow (1137 bytes)Graduate School Keypals


REFERENCE: Erickson, B., and Mountain, L. (1993-94). Real Writing, Real Audience, and Real Gains: A Telecommunications Project. The Computing Teacher, 21(4), 12-14.

Description of classroom practice:

CONTEXT: The seven month, Telecommunications-at-Home program was created as a way to enhance the writing skills of at-risk fourth grade students. Through a pen-pal partnership with graduate students at the University of Houston, these Texas fourth graders were provided the opportunity to write with a purpose and audience in mind. Using a small device (no computer or modem required) that plugged directly into students' home telephone jacks, the Homework Machine enabled students to access the Give and Get BBS from home. Coinciding with their current curriculum, the goal of this project was to "enhance the school's instruction for disadvantaged children through an economical, easy-to-use electronic delivery system, accessible by telephone lines in students' homes."

: Students engaged in structured writing assignments, while at the same time, they were also encouraged to write to their peers, teachers, and graduate school keypals. In addition to enhancing students' writing, this project made a significant impact on the overall learning process in students' homes. For instance, several of the students downloaded folk stories from the BBS to read to their younger siblings. Other students recruited family members to participate on the BBS along side them.


As a result of the Telecommunications-at-Home program, students' written work showed significant improvement in the following areas:

As many as 670 messages were posted on the BBS in a one week period. No fewer than 88 messages were posted in that same time period.


Dr. Barbara Erickson, Spring Branch Schools, 2045 Gessner, Houston, TX 77080 Dr. Lee Mountain, University of Houston, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Houston, TX 77204-5872

Collection Table of Contents

[ Home | Library | Videos | Tour | Spotlight | Workshops | Links ]

This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.