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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Writing in a Digital Age

Writing in a Digital Age

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13 Replies 155 Views

The National Day on Writing is on October 21. With classrooms incorporating more and more technology, it's crucial that writing is a top priority in the curriculum. Students are writing all of the time, whether it's in 140 characters, 140 words, or 140 paragraphs. It is often the way that we connect with others in an increasingly connected world, and it's important that we're teaching the best ways to communicate.

Find out more about the National Day on Writing here: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/events/670?x-t=sites_eos.view&or=site...

I would love to hear your thoughts. How is writing still relevant in this digital age, and how do you keep writing relevant in your connected classroom? Share your thoughts!

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Writing is a key skill for everyone. We have to be able to communicate, and communicate our thoughts clearly, in writing as well as by voice. However, I often think we fail to make the process of learning to write enjoyable. I remember "forced" journal entries in school, but never fun or crazy prompts that let me express myself freely and develop a sense of style and voice.

Now that we recognize how important writing is and are getting kids to write across the curriculum, I hope we remember to start early and make writing fun and engaging. Teaching kids there is an audience beyond just a teacher through blogging and publishing of their work, we can help students understand that their ideas and thoughts can have impact beyond the classroom. That gives power and importance to writing that will help make learning the mechanics all that more important, and hopefully less painful as well.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal
Facilitator 2014

As a writer and a former English teacher, I'm biased in favor of "Writing is the most powerful tool ever for any purpose." I think the digital age brings both opportunity (more venues for publishing, better ways of allowing for workshopping and peer review, easier access to primary sources and quality research) and challenges (more venues for bad writing, less practice with reading and writing in an academic voice, easier access to less than reliable sources- Wikipedia, I'm looking at you). That being said, the challenges just give us new ways of teaching the writing process and the opportunities provide new and exciting ways to help kids connect via the written word.

Two of my favorite resources:
The Vermont Writers Project http://youngwritersproject.org
"An online community of young writers in VT & NH where creativity and civility reign."

The NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program
"National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It's a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create! The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals."

Also- Twitter. 'Cause if you can't say it in 140 characters, you don't really know what you want to say.

Youki Terada's picture
Youki Terada
Education researcher at Edutopia

Digital storytelling -- I've seen kids jump into digital storytelling who otherwise avoid reading and writing at all costs. Being able to mix in images and music to tell a story can be really engaging. And even if there's no actual text, you can still get them to narrate the digital story, which involves writing a script and thinking about who their audience is, if they're communicating their ideas well, and the flow of their narration (it can be fascinating to watch them work on coordinating the flow of narration with the flow of images and music).

Here are a few great resources:

How to Teach Digital Storytelling in High School

Digital Storytelling: Helping Students Find Their Voice

How to Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom

Research Supporting Digital Storytelling


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