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Boston and Chicago Districts Roll Out Digital Writing Program For Grades 3-12

With the adoption of a new digital education platform, more than 250,000 students in two public school districts will have the opportunity to write, edit, and publish their own digital multi-chapter stories.

Boston Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools have launched BoomWriter Media's BoomWriter Technology Heroes Program, a content creation, delivery, and collaboration platform designed to reinforce the writing, critical thinking, collaborative, and grammar skills of students in grades 3-12. The online job site CareerBuilder will sponsor the Chicago district's adoption of the program.

Aligned to the Common Core State Standards the interactive, Web-based reading and writing program seeks to inspire students to create stories online and in print. The process begins with a story start written by a professional writer. From there, students expand on the theme and take the story wherever they like. After submitting their entry online, students read other participating students' chapters and vote for the entry they think is best. The winning chapter is selected and added to the story, and the process continues until the book is finished. The end result is a completed compilation of student-written contributions.

Key Benefits include:

  • Integration with existing lesson plans and course curricula;
  • Simplified assessment of individual and group progress;
  • Help for teachers to provide individualized feedback; and
  • Students become published writers and editors of professionally printed works.

"The BoomWriter program motivates students," said Lisa Perez, network library coordinator for the Chicago Public Schools Department of Educational Tools & Technology, in a prepared statement. "We expect a great deal of excitement as they see their words in print."

"This is an exciting partnership that not only enables educational innovation in the 21st century, but aligns with the district's goal to prepare our students for college and career success," said Boston Public Schools Chief Information Officer Melissa Dodd, in a prepared statement.

The third-largest school district in the United States, Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. The district's 2013-approved budget is $5.2 billion.

Founded in 1647, Boston Public Schools is the oldest public school system in the U.S. The district serves more than 57,000 students in grades preK-12 at 128 schools. The district's 2013 operating budget is $857 million.

BoomWriter Media is a digital education company that engages children and educators in collaborative storytelling. Additional information is available at boomwriter.com.

About the Author

Sharleen Nelson is a freelance journalist based in Springfield, Oregon. She can be reached at snelson858@comcast.net.

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