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WRITE LOCAL: A Community-Driven Platform for K-12 Writing and STEM Engagement

Project Team:

Sponsor: SAS Institute, Inc.

Project Total: $137,265


Drs. John Nietfeld and Cathy Crossland are creating a technology platform to enhance learning through STEM-based writing. Their one-year $137,000 project, funded by SAS Institute, Inc., explores the use of crowdsourcing to provide students more effective writing assignment prompts which have a structured purpose and audience .

Focusing on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, the project addresses ways to enhance learning intended to be gained from the typically assigned writing tasks. While assignments tend to be done by students without much thought or intention, research indicates that simply changing the audience and providing students with a more structured purpose will significantly improve writing quality in several key areas including focus, accuracy, the use of details, language, audience appropriateness, and navigational features. The purpose of WRITE LOCAL is to build upon these proven best-practices by leveraging technology for scalability. WRITE LOCAL employs crowdsourcing to ensure teachers and students have immediate access to a large repository of writing prompts that cover the entire spectrum of text types and audiences—persuasive, informative/explanatory and narrative.

As part of this effort, Drs. Nietfeld and Crossland and members of the SAS Curriculum Pathways team are developing a prototype of a searchable K-12 entry document repository application. This work will lay the groundwork for foundational research towards the design and implementation of more sophisticated methods for supporting the developing writer.