Today, there are more people writing every day — e-mails, text messages, blog posts — and more self-published authors than ever before. But unlike when traditional writing, digital writing is public, globally connected through hyperlinks, and easily shared and remixed. Digital writing can a blog post, e-mail correspondence, a text message, a tweet, a Facebook update, or a conversation on Tumblr. It can be comments on blog posts, responses to news articles, or book reviews shared on GoodReads. It can have a traditional look such as poems posted on the web, self-published works on LuLu and iBooks, or short stories uploaded to an online ‘zine.
In his book, Crafting Digital Writing, Dr. Troy Hicks explores the questions of how to teach digital writing by examining author’s craft, demonstrating how intentional thinking about author’s craft in digital texts engages students in writing that is grounded in their digital lives. Digital writing involves understanding the underlying grammar, features and structure of the mode and crafting an online, public media form suited for an intended audience.
Noticing Author’s Craft
The following tools can be used help students prewrite/draft by annotating the author’s craft.
Formative assessment of students’ ability to embed the structure and features into narratives can be conducted through quick writes including, OneWord.
Distinguishing Between Modes
The modes/purposes of writing are description, narration, exposition (informational) and persuasion (argumentative). Writers must make thoughtful decisions about topic, audience and purpose when creating text. Attention to purpose or “why am I writing” and “”who am I writing to”, directs the writer to identify a mode of writing best suited to deliver the intended message.
Using Padlet distinguish between the modes of writing. Think about the difference between the texts treatment of:
Voice – What voice (first or third person) is each text written in order to be an appropriate tone for purpose and audience?
Organization – How is each text structured – sequential, chronological, …? What are the features of the texts?
Sentence Fluency – How are the sentences structured – complex, simple, direct, descriptive…?
Word Choice – What vocabulary is chosen to make the textspecific and memorable?
Conventions – How do the punctuation choices (dash, ellipse, parenthesis, etc.) communicate the intended message?
Crafting Writing For A Specific Audience
Audience consideration is part of a larger model called MAPS. MAPS is a model for thoughtful, effective communication: Mode, Audience, Purpose, Situation.
Building A Culture of Citizenship
Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use. Students act ethically by citing sources, abiding by author’s licenses, and licensing their own work in the public domain. The following technologies can foster a culture of citizenship.
Reflecting On The Text
Deep reflection and purposeful revision of writing occurs through dialogue (peer, group, teacher). The following technologies can engender conversation of students’ writing and provide effective feedback.
Digital writing is not teach writing with computers, but rather to teach writing in spaces that also allow students to write with computers. Technologies and digital publishing spaces allow students to weave and orchestrate multiple media to produce powerful, interactive, and hyperlinked, artifacts. Embracing a digital perspective involves a shift in pedagogy based on these principles:
Situated in contexts of rich affordances for writing. Affords basic infrastructural and semiotic wrtiting choices for students
Linked to a thoughtful, critical consciousness of technology. Facilitates a thoughtful, critical selection among tools for performing writing tasks and preparing compositions among many options
Anchored by multimodal approaches to writing. Juxatposing, scripting, and layering multiple media, including photographs, charts, video, images, audio, diagrams, hyperlinks, and more to create sophisticated messages
podcast n. a digital audio file or recording made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player.
Podcasts can be created from original material by students and teachers or existing audio files can be downloaded for classroom use. Creating a podcast allows students to produce and share compelling digital media. It can also provide them with a world-wide audience that makes learning meaningful and assessment authentic. Teachers can use the technology to provide additional and revision material to students to download and review at a time that suits them.
You will need a recording device (microphone and computer or a hand-held MP3 recorder.) You can also record directly into Audacity with a microphone. If you record with a hand held MP3 recorder, you will insert that file into Audacity.
Here are a few things you need to decide for your podcast:
What is the topic of your podcast?
What is the format of your podcast?
How long will each episode be?
Will you have background music and if so, where will you get copyright free music to use?
How often will you going to release new shows or is this be a one-time show?
Where will your podcast be uploaded? Do you have a class blog, website or wiki with enough space to host your podcasts?
Tools for Podcasting
Audacity - Free, open source software for recording and editing sounds.
Sites to Host Podcasts
The iTunes Store has thousands of free podcasts. The podcasts directory in the iTunes Store is where students can find and subscribe to new podcasts.
Search Podcasts by Popularity Before students subscribe, they will want to find podcasts that appeal to their inquiry. There are several ways of fining relevant podcasts. Students can either use the iTunes search box in the upper right-hand corner of the jukebox window, or for a more detailed search students can click on Power Search under Quick Links in the upper right-hand corner of the iTunes Store homepage. Power Search provides pull-down filters for category or language, as well as search boxes specific to podcast title, author or description. Once a search is performed, students can order results by popularity by clicking on the column header titled “Popularity.”
Manage Podcast Subscriptions Get smart playlists – Podcast episodes can be added to a playlist, or smart playlist, like any other track. When a podcast finishes playing, iTunes does not play the next podcast episode in your Source List by default. To keep a steady stream of episodes playing, consider creating a podcast playlist. By creating a smart playlist, students can even customize playback based on artists, genre, topic, etc.To build an all-podcast smart playlist, Choose “New Smart Playlist” from the file menu. To include only podcast episodes not yet listened to, choose “Plays” from the first drop-down menu, “is” from the second, and enter 0. Add additional filters to further refine the smart playlist.
Podcasts cannot be created with iTunes. However, the iTunes Store houses a searchable directory of podcasts, to which students’ podcast feed can be submitted. An account for the iTunes Store is not needed to get podcasts. However, an account is needed to submit a podcast to the iTunes Store.
Kid-Cast -Kid Cast is a site for students to publish their own podcasts in an environment safe for young minds to hear. Contribution by students allows learners to listen to their peers on topics of interest.
Technology offers the potential to embrace the full potential of collaboration and to design a robust writing workshop. The use of technology in writing workshop involves a mind-set that understands new literacies (Lankshear and Knobel, 2010) and prompts us to move from “What can I make this tool do?” to “What do I want this tool to do?” (Kajder, 2010).
How can technology be used to enhance the students’ use of the traits in their writing?
How can technology impact student writing?
What data can we gather to determine student impact?
The ideas are the main message, the content of the piece, the main theme, together with all the supporting details that enrich and develop that theme.
Scholastic’s Story Starters – a good way to get ideas flowing when students are stuck. Best for K-6 and sorted by grade and type of writing with a good visual interface.
Google Search Stories – a great way to teach the key parts of a story like initial action or climax. Students create a series of search terms that show what the character is trying to learn about, and it turns into simple little movie.
Write or Die – a great game to get students free writing rather than self-editing as they go and destroying their own flow.
Corkboard. me – a quick way to brainstorm ideas together by placing sticky notes on a virtual cork board. You can keep the cork board online to refer to it throughout the writing process.
OneWord - Write about a displayed word for sixty seconds.
Writing to Learn – Angela Perry offers many resources for enhancing students’ ideas.
Organization is the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the pattern and sequence, so long as it fits the central idea.
Webspiration – Online diagramming, graphic organizer, mind mapping and outlining software for writing support and brainstorming.
Bubbl.us - Brainstorm online and easily create colourful mindmaps to print or share with others.
Inspiration or Kidspiration – SPS purchased software for brainstorming and organzing. After brainstorming, switch to outline view to help students create purposeful organization of their writing.
Writing to Learn – Angela Perry offers many resources for enhancing students’ orgnaization
Voice is the writer coming through the words, the sense that a real person is speaking to us and cares about the message.
MoodStream (Getty Images) – Discuss how pictures can convey feelings and set a mood and tone.
Colours in Motion – Discuss how colours elicit certain moods. Watch movies about the the symbolism, personality, and the traits that colours convey. A writing about characters dressed in black in a foggy gray night elicits a different mood than characters in bright colours in a sunny blue day.
PicLits - The archive of photographs and a vocabulary rich word bank facilitates the creation of sentences (or even a paragraph) that can bring the picture to life using words that focus on details and the unusual things.
Lexipedia - Students type in an overused word, and in seconds, are provided with a web of synonyms.
Type With Me- This online document collaboration tool which works in real time allows students to coedit a piece of writing for words that deepen meaning.
Sentence Fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear, not just to the eye.
Pixie - The recording feature in Pixie helps develop fluency (the rhythm and the flow) of writing.
WordTalk - This free text-to-speech plugin which allows students to listen to their story, if typed into Microsoft Word.
Thumbscribes – It is a collaborative writing platform in which scribes are created and passed between authors who add a new chapter or section to the work until it is completed.
PenCamp allows students to start a password-protected page and to begin writing. The unique page URL and password can be shared with teachers, collaborating peers and family.
The Conventions Trait is the mechanical correctness of the piece and includes five elements: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar/usage, and paragraphing.
Microsoft Track Changes – Students can edit a document for conventions and keep a record of the editing that the author can accept or reject.
Power Proofreading - Students act as proofreading technicians to fix TV scripts, memos, and other writings for a television station.
GoogleDocs – Students can share work online to allow collaborative creation and editing.
Twiddla- Students can collaboratively provide feedback as they mark up web sites, graphics, documents, and photos, or start brainstorming on a blank canvas.
Presentation combines both visual and textual elements. It is the way we exhibit or present our message on paper.
Lulu.com – Students can self-publish, print & sell print-on-demand books.
Flipsnack - Flipsnack will quickly convert uploaded PDF documents into a virtual magazine with flipping pages that can be viewed and shared online in a variety of ways including Facebook, Twitter and html embed codes.
Issuu - Students can upload almost any document format and create a virtual flipping book that can be shared or embedded.
Tikatok - Designed for easy, online story creation, students begin with story starters or a completely blank book. Text, images and imagination are added and a cool digital book is created that can be viewed online or ordered in a traditional hard copy.
Mixbook - Perfect for middle or high school students, Mixbook offers digital storytelling tools, handy templates, and images to ensure a professional-looking book. Mixbook also offers accounts designed just for teachers.
Miss Literati - Thissocial network of student authors allows students to post their writing for others to read, rate and critique.
Epubbud - Students can upload a document and convert it into an e-book or create the book right on the site. What makes this site different is that the final product is in ePUB file format. ePUBs are the univeral ebook format that can be read bythe Apple iOS iBooks app and other kinds of ebook readers.
Simple Booklet offers free online booklet creation and publishing. You can add text, images, audio files, videos, and links to each page of your booklet
My Ebook creates ebooks that contain text, images, and videos on each page. Users can create ebooks from scratch or upload their existing PDF files to display in a book format. Images from Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, and Photobucket accounts can also be uploaded.
Calameo – Publish magazines, presentations or documents and share online. Embed rich-media content to your publications like videos and audios.
Task Cards for Integrating Technology and The 6+1 Trait® Writing Model of Instruction & Assessment
Using Harvey and Daniels’ inquiry format (2010), the cards combine a discussion of the traits of writing with technology choices.