Monday, November 09, 2009

Custom Writing Courses

My company provides, online interactive eight-week writing tutorials for students in high school, middle, and elementary school. They are a combination of interactive exercises and teacher interactions.

We are looking at whether we can use those same materials to improve the writing from our member support group. They write a lot of emails every day and while they are primarily templated, there is often a need for original writing.

So our support group is the client, our Time4Writing product group is the vendor, and the test is whether we can build and deliver a version customized for a professional work group. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here's some Writing Resources from

Distance Learning: Why Online Courses Work
Elementary School Online Writing Instruction
Essay Writing for Standardized Tests: Tips for Writing a Five Paragraph Essay
Four Types of Sentences and the Effect of Punctuation
High School Writing Overview
How Graphic Organizers Help Students Master Writing
How Writing Rubrics Improve Writing
Middle School Writing Overview
Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Essay
Paragraph Writing Secrets
The Writing Process: The Steps to Writing Success
Descriptive Essays: Tips for Writers
Narrative Essays: Tips for Writers
Persuasive Essays: Tips for Writers
Expository Essays: Tips for Writers
Types of Essays: End the Confusion
Understanding Writing Prompts
Writing Can Be Fun: Tips to Enhance Your Child’s Desire to Write
Writing Prompts That Inspire
Writing a Better Book Report

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Early Elementary Educational Breakthroughs

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street this week, I'm thinking about the great steps forward in kids educational materials. Here's a list. I'd love to see this written up as a full article.

Dick & Jane - These were the standards when I was little (I'm 51)

Dr Suess - The Cat in the Hat was exciting radical stuff when I was little. We loved it. Green Eggs and Ham and all.

Captain Kangeroo & Mister Rogers

Sesame Street

What else belongs on this list? Why?

One other thought. During the tech boom, a number of companies raised a lot of capital for businesses which were described as "Sesame Street for the Digital Age" or "Interactive Sesame Street". It fires the imagination and recognizes the vast impact that Sesame Street has had.

On the business side, I've always wondered about the reality of Children's Television Network. I assume that they're a non-profit. They probably get all sorts of grants and funding. Yet, the toy stores are full of yards of licensed products with Big Bird and Ernie. Isn't that a lot of money? Isn't it enough? Do they turn a profit? Who gets it?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Typing Courses

When I was in high school, I took a summer school course in typing and learned to "touch-type." Today, the term seems to be keyboarding and the courses seem mostly automated. I'm on a mission to create or find the best keyboarding or typing course.

Google suggests

Good typing - 27 guided lessons to learn step-by-step from the beginning. Free. Teaches in many languages. Text-based, tracks what you do.

PetersOnlineTypingCourse - same as good typing. Modest interactivity. Text instructions - another free site, geared for schools. $99 to get rid of banners.

Elye's ideas: - from sunburst. Entire range of products, some packaged, some online. Single user is priced at a whopping $79. Lab at $179. School & network $799.

Keybo - CD-based course:

UltraKey from Bytes of learning.
Typing Games by read write type - combined interdisciplinary course