Students worked well on their Letters to the President. Students researched issues important to them to find supporting evidence. Not all students researched in depth; some only summarized. However, the work engaged students to draft, revise (several times), and edit well. They met their deadline, and published.
Google Docs is amazing — great spell-check, ease of collaboration, and security. You can see in their eyes and actions how important it was for students to work in such a real world, real life situation. It helped students take their role of concerned youth seriously. This is what education should be: collaborative application of continuous learning.
Only one student broke the code of responsibility and lost computer privileges for two weeks. Now, his work is on board with expectations.
We wrote better letters than hand-written drafts because of the collaboration in a job-like setting. It was — and continues to be — a wonderful experience.
Links to our directions: http://whatelse.pbwiki.com/Letters-To-The-President
Links to our letters: http://www.letters2president.org/classes/2152-ms-edwards