Introducing John Ost

Geez ... one must blush a bit when Patti introduces. Sorry for the delay in my response. I was reconstructing and rebuilding my computer from the ground up over the past week. The last gasp of my computer in its former state was to join this list.

I use IRC to teach writing inside an electronic writing space. For years, that meant that I would meet on an IRC with kids and we would write stories, poems, non-fiction pieces and more from scratch. I got into this by volunteering for a **one time** visiting-writer session with Patti five years ago. I never left.

The reason that I've stayed was the magic I felt after watching kids create something interactive before my very eyes. Really, I watched all of these wonderful minds meet together in an electronic space and do something that is so hard to do in a traditional classroom. They learned how to write and create and collaborate together interactively without a teacher mediating every word as their thoughts and ideas moved onto an electronic blackboard. It's a different place to teach and I've struggled to learn how to teach and -- more importantly -- pass on what I've learned to others.

Often I've worked with kids and they've created beautiful words and stories collaboratively. But equally as often I've failed to pass along the techniques to teachers or get them excited enough to want to try to teach alongside of me (or better yet adopt the ideas and run far beyond me) in their classroom. But then I met Barb Schulz this winter and for the past four months we have been working some of that old magic with her classroom. Her kids have forned wonderful committees that have leveraged one modem, one tv monitor and one computer beyond even my wildest dreams. The best part is that not only are the kids writing a wonderful story, we are taking some significant steps to slowly integrate many parts of Barbara's required curriculum into this writing program. We would like to share some of what we have done in the hopes that we can grow and do it better while also share what we are learning and learn from what you might see and take from our experiences. Did I say that right?

So, Aloha. I look forward to learning a lot from you folks and sharing some techniques and thoughts about on-line curriculum development. Thanks for inviting me, Patti. I love to experiment and hopefully we can try out ideas on you folks and perhaps contribute to this wonderful project in some small way.


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Patricia A. Weeg