Cognition, Computers and Creative Writing

Sharples, M. (1985) Cognition, Computers and Creative Writing, Chichester: Ellis Horwood.

This book offers a view of the way children’s minds work, reflecting the author’s investigations in the fields of cognitive psychology and education. It describes a way of teaching children to write, that stimulates them to enjoy exploring the possibilities provided by their language and the guidelines which help them to do so. A computer-based environment provides them with powerful learning tools such as word processors, automated reference aids, story planners and ideas organizers. The author discusses the development of children’s writing abilities and the writing process of both children and adults. He introduces a method of assessing short-term changes in writing style and evaluates a computer-based teaching scheme for creative writing that was tested with six 11 year-old children over a nine month period. The programs – a sentence generator, a story planner and “Adventure Game” creator, a text editor and transformer and an automated thesaurus – are described in terms of the LOGO programming language for which an appendix gives more detailed information. The book also embodies a critical survey of the teaching of writing in schools and a review of software for writing skills.

It is intended to be of use to a wide range of educators, psychologists and cognitive scientists.