Tony Karrer asks a great question in his blog post: “What is good writing?” It is really all about context. Although I agree that concise and bullet-pointed writing can be worthwhile in certain contexts, I do believe that teaching fundamentals is the first priority of a K-12 writing curriculum.
This post has prompted me to muse about another important question: What is good interactive writing?Those of us challenged to develop good online learning activities realize that great eLearning starts with good information design and activities that engage learners. To engage a learner’s mind means that we must keep the learner’s attention with teaching activities that are interactive. This means writers must understand web techniques like hot spots, links, branching, dragging, graphic placement and the like. Sometimes it means a full blown simulation or game (See Karl Kapp’s discussion of building Math Games for Middle School Students). Good storytelling still matters, as does an understanding of the Chicago Style Guide.
At our shop, we require writer applicants to develop a short interactive storyboard prior to the interview. At the interview the applicant is given a twenty minute test (based on ACT college entrance questions) on grammar and English usage. With information coming at us in all forms of media, reading seems like a passé facility. We need writers who know how to make learning fun and graphical while effectively communicating to those of us who still think it’s cool to read.