Book of the Week – Because Digital Writing Matters

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This week’s Book of the Week is one that brings together many of my passions – technology, literacy, and student voice.  Because Digital Writing Matters, published by the National Writing Project expands an earlier conversation started in Because Writing Matters, to include importance of digital writing.  Through my work with the National Writing Project I have had the opportunity to meet and work with the three authors, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Troy Hicks, and Danielle Nicole DeVoss.  Each of them are brilliant and the type of people where simply listening to them speak, allows you to walk away with a wealth of information and ideas. Because Digital Writing Matters weaves together their thinking and experience to start a national dialogue on how regarding how we teach, asseses, and value our student’s digital writing.  As many of us already know and observe on a daily basis, our students are writing.  They may not be producing our traditional types of pen-on-paper texts we often think of when we use the word writing, but through Facebook, text messages, and YouTube they are most definitely writing.  How do we use this type of personal writing to shape the academic writing we ask students to produce in our classrooms?  For example, when leading our kids through a persuasive writing unit of study could we use 30 second public service announcements, blog posts, or online speeches as mentor text?  Could students persuade an audience through the choice written text or the publication of an online video?  If they could how would you assess their writing skills?  For me, so many of these thoughts were summarized in just one question a participant posed at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting:

“If you had the best, most effective, writing teachers in America for your entire K-12 career and scored advanced on every single writing assessment, but your teacher never showed you how to compose ideas in digital text using social media, blogs, wikis, movie, and audio creation software would you be literate?”

Because Digital Writing Matters starts a dialogue for all of us in education to consider on what it truly means to be literate.  Early in the text the authors make the statement that we need to stop debating print versus digital text, because in reality they all matter and we must help our students write in both mediums.  Pick it up…its definitely worth the read.

Joe

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