It is an exciting time to be learning. Perhaps there has never been a more exciting time. Every day, it seems, a new product is announced to help encourage or facilitate learning. Most of these products are really exciting. They bring educational opportunities to more people in the world than ever before, and they do it on a greater scale than ever before

When I was in junior high school, I was an eager student. I had finally figured out how to get straight A's, and I worked hard to maintain that success. In ninth grade, I took an English class, confident that I could learn well and keep up with my peers. Then the teacher gave us an assignment to write a story or a poem. He explained that he would read them to the class.

I was horrified.

Over the years, I have taught many writing classes. A few students are confident writers, but they are rare. (And some confident writers are perhaps too confident and therefore unwilling to learn.) Many students, though, fear writing. Or, maybe more accurately, they fear writing classes, having had more than one unpleasant experience with such classes in the past.