Purdue Online Writing Lab
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a free resource with information about writing, sponsored by Purdue University. It covers all aspects of writing and could be used by teens as a reference for homework, papers, or any written assignment. Kids will have to look up the relevant topic and apply the information to their question. The information provided is clear and accessible, but how it applies to a specific school task may not be as obvious. Parents may need to help kids find the relevant page within OWL if they need help with a writing assignment.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- forming arguments
- presenting to others
- using supporting evidence
- writing clearly
- academic development
- conveying messages effectively
- multiple forms of expression
Engagement, Approach, Support
Suitable for teens who are already serious about improving their writing. There aren't any graphics or interactive resources to pull kids in, but it's still full of practical and valuable information for the self-motivated.
The site hosts a wealth of informative content, so kids can engage in deep learning here if they want to. It's not adaptive or interactive, but it's a great, straightforward resource.
Teens can email for help, but they have to send brief, pointed questions. The heavily text-based site lacks audio or significant accessibility features.
What's it about?
The main section of the OWL website offers a broad range of solid information about writing -- the process, grammar, and style. There are no groups to join, fees to pay, or personal information to supply. The site isn't designed for interactive instruction. But if kids are looking for resources, the OWL won't disappoint; it's all easily accessible, free, and abundant -- and kids can print out the pages. Besides all the written documentation, there are also PowerPoint presentations that provide an overview of tools such as the MLA style guide.
Is it any good?
For the right teen, the PURDUE ONLINE WRITING LAB is a great resource for producing any kind of writing. For less mature or younger teens, there won't be much sticking power. There are no cute graphics or interactive opportunities. Independent learners are the real candidates for getting something from this site. But for this demographic, the site will keep them busy reviewing the process they undertake for writing projects and homework. It will also be something to bookmark as a good resource for pesky grammar questions or styling issues.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about other ways kids can express themselves besides writing. If kids have options for how they present their school assignment, they may want to explore different ways of creating with digital media.
Families can also talk about how to give and receive constructive criticism. How do you feel when someone critiques your writing? How can you provide feedback to peers without hurting their feelings?
Where are other places online where you can find homework help? How can you determine if a website has trustworthy information? What should you look for to determine a website's credibility?