Monday, September 4, 2017

Built to Last - Purdue OWL

This fall will mark the tenth anniversary of Free Technology for Teachers. Over those ten years I have reviewed thousands of free resources for teachers and students. Some of those free resources have come and gone in a blaze of glory (remember when Second Life and Nings were the cat's meow?) while others have stood the test of time. Over the next couple of months I am going to revisit some of the free resources that have endured over the majority of the last ten years. With a nod to the Grateful Dead song of the same name, I'm calling this series Built to Last.

Purdue OWL is the first entry in my Built to Last series. Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) is a resource that I have been referencing since long before I started Free Technology for Teachers. I made it required bookmarking from the first time that my students had computers to use in my classroom.

Purdue OWL offers MLA, APA, and Chicago style guides for students to consult as they are writing research papers. The style guides have been updated to reflect current standards. Not only are samples included in the guides, students can also access detailed tutorials which are referred to as "workshops" on the OWL site.

Writing recommendation letters is one of the tasks that many high school teachers find on their plates in the fall. Purdue OWL offers an excellent guide to writing recommendation letters. One of the things that I like about the guide is that it includes advice on how to politely decline writing a letter of recommendation if it doesn't feel like a good fit for you and the student.

As long as we ask students to write research papers, we will worry about plagiarism. Purdue OWL provides an extensive set of activities that you can use to help your students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. With the exception of this ten minute comparison activity, all of the OWL plagiarism lessons are at least thirty minutes long.

Purdue OWL may have a bit of a Web 1.0 look, but don't let that fool you. It is full of great resources for you and your students. Have you used any of the Purdue OWL resources? Which do you recommend? Send me an email and let me know. 

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