Friday, February 1, 2013


Do you tweet your thoughts on Twitter and update your status on Facebook?  Are you uploading photos and videos and other images  to social media platforms like Flickr or YouTube or Pinterest?

Do you write on a computer, tablet,  phone, or other electronic device?

Are you saving articles to Google Reader or creating documents to share with your colleagues on Google Docs?

Are you contemplating starting a blog?

All of these electronic or digital possibilities are connected  to 21st century literacies.

How do these electronic devices, tools, applications and other digital options change the way we write and think about writing? How is the teaching of writing changed?

Along with several teachers from the Columbus Area Writing Project, I am currently involved in a class with Troy Hicks focusing on teacher leadership in digital writing.  In our class we are asking these questions and more.

Together, we are wrestling with defining digital writing, determining appropriate and necessary instruction for K-12 students, and also creating effective professional development frameworks for teachers.

As this class progresses, we are reading theory and research,  articles and books, as well as accessing additional resources shared by our members.

We are participating in ongoing written conversations online at Google Communities and face-to-face conversations using Google Hangout.   In response to our work together, we are sharing documents we have created collaboratively, and those we have created individually to use in our varied teaching situations. 

What are the advantages of our rapidly growing options with the Internet, digital devices, software, tools and applications?  Many teachers and scientists cite high levels of distraction and shorter attention spans as down sides. (Click to read  more about  multitasking, attention and distraction.    Click to read  Kids and Multitasking) 

Others cite new possibilities for collaboration, interactivity, immediate access to information and feedback, as well as expanded options in design and development as definite advantages. Click  to read more about these advantages in Why Teach Digital Writing?)

Cyberspace has become the new frontier—as we strive to go where no man--and no pen and paper-- have gone before, there are several issues to consider.

First, technology, with its new devices, gadgets, software, applications and the like, allow us to work faster, more efficiently, and more professionally.

The new technologies also allow us work with amazing levels of cooperation, collaboration and expanded participation.

This brings people together who would never have worked together, shared ideas or even encountered each other in the past.

Implications and impact for education are huge.   What will the future classrooms look like?  Will there even be classrooms where people gather in one spot at one time to learn?

Social actions are forever changed, as well.  Recent disaster aid efforts have been  managed online through social media.  And political uprisings and revolutions have also advanced using these same platforms. 

Whether we like this new digital world or not—our children are growing up as citizens of a rapidly changing electronic/digital world.  

New technology and tools have involved more people in more conversations about more topics and issues than were ever possible, with speeds unimagined in the past

How do we balance the use of these new tools in our lives?.

Where will these new possibilities lead us?

Today’s Deeper Writing Possibility

What digital tools do you use in your everyday life?
How do these change the way you approach writing and reading?
Have your experiences been positive or negative? How so?
What changes would you like to see in the way we work and read and write?

Write a personal essay or other writing form about your experiences with new technologies, digital writing and the impact on your life, and the larger world community.

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