Tuesday, July 5, 2011

MyNotes - Teaching Writing with Digital Tools


If this is a topic you're interested in (as I am), you'll want to catch up on these relevant blog entries on digital writing:


Education Week Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook: Writing Re-Launched: Teaching with Digital Tools
    • Writing Re-Launched: Teaching with Digital Tools
      • Innovative language arts teachers find that adapting writing instruction to technology can enhance engagement without sacrificing the fundamentals. By Liana Heitin
        • The nature of writing has shifted in recent years. There are very few—if any—jobs these days for which employees produce lengthy handwritten reports. News stories are an integration of words, images, audio, and website links.
          • There are plenty of reasons for teaching writing without a technology component, including lack of resources, lack of training, and the pressures of testing.
            • digital writing skills are critical to “college and career readiness.” Digital writing assignments “match the real world” and give students experience composing “in a form people will actually read,” she says.
              • Elissa Loeb Waldman, a 7th grade English teacher at Lakelands Park Middle School in Gaithersburg, Md., turned a district-mandated research requirement for her students into a multimedia writing project.
                • students were required to include a technology-based visual aid, such as an interactive poster made through Glogster or a word cloud created with Wordle.
                  • Students filmed their tour and shot close-ups of exhibits using Flip video cameras. During lunch, students wrote poems about their experiences at the reserve and how the scenery moved them. Back in the classroom, they used the raw material—both footage and poetry—to compose short films about the field trip. The final DVDs were shown at a wine-and-cheese fundraising event for the nature reserve.
                    • students now use an iPad application called “Puppet Pals” during centers time. Through the app, students choose characters, a setting, and a title, then make up a story based on those choices and record it using the iPad’s microphone. They move the characters and props with their fingers as they narrate. When they’re done, the iPad will play their story back to them—both the narration and the visual.
                      • By design, pen-and-paper composition is a one-person undertaking. But digital writing is often collaborative.
                        • outside of the school setting, in higher education and the workplace, she says, “collaborative writing is huge.”
                          • Of the many digital tools Malley uses, Google Docs has been one of the most transformational
                            • Through Google Docs, students will add to and edit each other’s work from home or school. Programs like Google Docs also allow teachers to work more closely with students during the writing process. “One of my basic beliefs is that kids need access at the point of need,” Malley says. “As opposed to having lectures and notes on grammatical devices, a more effective way to teach writing is to zip in when kids need help with something specific.”
                              • Malley’s students blog and use social networking sites, such as NING, to share and discuss their work. “When they’re blogging, they’re not just writing for me,” says Malley. “They found out last year that the more compelling their voice was and if they were funny and insightful, the more readers and comments they got. That drives them.”
                                • Because digital writing assumes an audience, Joseph McCaleb, director of the University of Maryland Writing Project, sees it as a way to get students involved in social justice issues. “It’s so much easier teaching writing when you’ve got kids feeling purposeful,
                                  • “We focus on the idea of learning to write because it gives our voices power.”
                                    • “Once they describe it aloud, I am able to help them understand how to incorporate those details into their writing,” he says.
                                      • “If [the technology] meets a need I haven’t been able to meet or accomplishes the objective of increasing student willingness to invest their time, I’m willing to put in the time to learn it.” And as she sees it, exposing students to both writing conventions and new technologies is essential so they can build on both skills down the road. Students will be “applying this stuff in the future,” she says, “beyond what I can imagine.”
                                        • Writing Re-Launched: Teaching with Digital Tools

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                                          Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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