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Teaching Digital Writing: More Than Blogs and Wikis

Monday, April 4, 4 p.m. Eastern time
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 Teaching Digital Writing: More Than Blogs and Wikis(04/04/2011) 
10:13
edweekbryan: 
Good morning, folks. We've opened up the chat for questions, so submit yours below. We'll be back at 4pm EDT with our two guests - see you then!
Monday April 4, 2011 10:13 edweekbryan
3:58
edweekbryan: 
Good afternoon, everyone. The chat will get underway in just a few minutes with Elyse Eidman-Aadahl and Bud Hunt. Be sure to submit any questions you have down below, and we'll try our best to get to them.

I'm now handing the chat over to our moderator today, Liana Heitin, who is the Associate Editor of Education Week Teacher. Take it away, Liana!
Monday April 4, 2011 3:58 edweekbryan
3:59
Liana Heitin: 
Hello everyone and thanks for joining us. In addition to pen-and-paper and word-processing skills, students these days need direct instruction in digital writing—or writing created or read on a computer or other Internet-connected device. Our guests today are Elyse Eidman-Aadahl and Bud Hunt. Elyse is the director of national programs and site development at the National Writing Project. Bud is an instructional technologist with the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colo.. They'll discuss the ways new digital tools and platforms are changing writing instruction, and what this means for professional development.
Monday April 4, 2011 3:59 Liana Heitin
4:00
Liana Heitin: 
Elyse and Bud, would mind telling us a little more about yourselves? Elyse, maybe you can start.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:00 Liana Heitin
4:01
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Okay, thanks Liana. As Liana said I direct National Programs and Site Development for the National Writing Project. In that role I've had the pleasure of learning from many fabulous K-16 educators about how they and their students use digital tools and technologies. I, myself, have been a HS English and Journalism teacher and an Education professor. Now I work with teachers through the 200+ sites of the NWP.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:01 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:01
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
I think this is a tremendously exciting time to teach writing. We are in the midst of an evolutionary moment in the basic 'ecology' of written communication. Imagine if we could have been teaching in the century after the printing press! This moment is that cool…IMHO.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:01 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:02
Liana Heitin: 
Thanks so much, Elyse. How about you, Bud?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:02 Liana Heitin
4:02
Bud Hunt: 
Well, hi everyone - I'm Bud Hunt, a teacher, writer and geek in northern Colorado. My main job lately is to help folks figure out how to use technology thoughtfully in the service of good instruction. We've plenty of opportunities to do good writing now - but sometimes we get distracted by the shiny bits of technology.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:02 Bud Hunt
4:02
Bud Hunt: 
I'm psyched to be working today in such a ripe environment for good writing and composition.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:02 Bud Hunt
4:03
Liana Heitin: 
Excellent, thanks so much. We've got a lot of great questions coming in so let's get started.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:03 Liana Heitin
4:03
Liana Heitin: 
Here's one from Kathy.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:03 Liana Heitin
4:03
[Comment From KathyKathy: ] 
2. What is the earliest age to use digital devices for writing? Reading?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:03 Kathy
4:04
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
@Kathy Good question. Mobile devices getting better and better. iPad is great for young children with intuitive interface and minimal use of keyboarding. Also great new apps being made every day.

When young children have high quality tech to use to read and write and speak and listen, it is very powerful. Children develop concepts about audience and response, and also the value of their thinking. This teacher's story about podcasting with primary students is great: http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/261
Monday April 4, 2011 4:04 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:04
Bud Hunt: 
@Kathy - I think it depends on the child and the device - but I'm finding that my three year old loves "writing" - scribbling mostly - on my various mobile devices - phones and pads and whatnot. We make time for both crayons and screens at my house - and both are important.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:04 Bud Hunt
4:05
Bud Hunt: 
What's important is that she and my older daughter are beginning to recognize that they can make marks about the way that they see the world. I don't much care if those marks happen on the screen or on paper - but I want them to experience both.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:05 Bud Hunt
4:05
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
One of the exciting things about some of the new tools are that they are interactive, and in that way less passive than even classic children's educational television.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:05 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:06
Liana Heitin: 
Great. Seems like you can start very young! Here's an important question from Cherylann.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:06 Liana Heitin
4:06
Bud Hunt: 
Quite right, Elyse - even though I prefer reading to my girls, I like that there's a story that can read itself to them when I can't.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:06 Bud Hunt
4:06
[Comment From Cherylann SchmidtCherylann Schmidt: ] 
In what ways do new digital tools and platforms change students' identities as writers?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:06 Cherylann Schmidt
4:07
Bud Hunt: 
Cherylann - Great question. It assumes that writers should be thinking about identity - which has always been true. Questions like "Who am I" and "Who am I writing to" and "What do I want to say" and "How do I want to say it" are essential for writers on paper and on the screen. I think these tools change the speed with which interaction can happen - and fiddle with the order of the publication process. Sometimes, it's publish first and revise later - which can get tricky.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:07 Bud Hunt
4:07
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
@Cherylann I think that the new tools and platforms make it possible for students to publish and participate in the world through their writing and media production at ever younger ages. So they can create an identity earlier.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:07 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:07
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Actually, they can play with multiple identities.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:07 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:08
Bud Hunt: 
I hope that all of our students, teachers, administrators and educators see themselves as writers - and that they talk with each other about what that means. The fact that we can make our texts so available to each other helps with that process.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:08 Bud Hunt
4:08
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
In many ways, seeing yourself as someone with something to say that others are interested in is key.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:08 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:09
Bud Hunt: 
Here's more of my thinking about that - http://plpnetwork.com/2011/03/31/everyones-a-writer-nwp-taught-me-that/
Monday April 4, 2011 4:09 Bud Hunt
4:09
Liana Heitin: 
Excellent. Here's a question that gets right to the heart of our conversation today.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:09 Liana Heitin
4:09
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Of course, we know that students often don't make connections between the writing and publishing they do on their own and their work in schools. So that's a connection we need to help them make.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:09 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:09
[Comment From JaneJane: ] 
What types of digital media are you using? Also, what do you do about equity--ie, if all students do not have (or can not afford) the equipment, such as a cell phone or etc.?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:09 Jane
4:10
Bud Hunt: 
And some more on identity from Peter Kittle and Andrea Zellner, also at Digital Is: http://digitalis.nwp.org/collection/distributed-identities-curating-our-onli
Monday April 4, 2011 4:10 Bud Hunt
4:10
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
@ Jane. The equity question is vitally important. Thank you.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:10 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:11
Bud Hunt: 
@Jane - One of the things that I stress with the folks that I work and write with is that a few simple and basic tools is a better choice than lots and lots of gadgets and gizmos and websites - so I'm really interested in tools that work across platforms and OS's.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:11 Bud Hunt
4:12
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
We do know that there still is differential access. Mobile devices are better distributed, and getting more powerful, but controversial in schools. Most schools have computers, but in many places the students only have limited lab access. So they can't really get comfortable composing on them. Better to get simple tools into their hands for more regular use than high end tools they rarely get to touch.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:12 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:13
Bud Hunt: 
I'm a big fan of text and audio as forms that are low bandwidth and relatively accessible - I think we'll see that video is going to be more universally accessible soon - but at the moment, it's tricky, platform dependent and very, very bandwidth intensive.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:13 Bud Hunt
4:13
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Also, they are ways to work "offline" that are similar to how we work 'online.' When we do that, we help students acquire the mindset that is part of digital writing.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:13 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:14
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
I also think that our libraries and community computer centers are part of the solution.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:14 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:14
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Schools and teachers shouldn't have to carry the whole burden of access and equity. We can have community partners.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:14 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:14
Bud Hunt: 
Elyse - Quite right on libraries - and schools - they've the tools, if we can staff them into the evenings we can begin to create powerful opportunities for community writing and use of digital tools.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:14 Bud Hunt
4:15
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
The 2011 NAEP will ask students to compose on computers and will have surveys about access. This should show up what the impact is on student composing.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:15 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:16
Liana Heitin: 
Here's a question from Cathy on getting started with digital tools.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:16 Liana Heitin
4:16
[Comment From CathyCathy: ] 
Our school is becoming more and more technology savvy, but we have instructors who may be "shy" about trying their hands at digital writing. In other words, so much has happened so quickly with technology, some people tend to be afraid. What websites are most helpful in easing these teachers into an area that has been mostly unexplored by them?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:16 Cathy
4:18
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
@ Cathy Yes, it HAS been a pretty fast moving 10-15 years! One of the things that is happening now, though, is that interfaces are becoming more similar and predictable. So this is a great time to get started, right at the point when so much is becoming easier and easier to use.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:18 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:18
Bud Hunt: 
Cathy - I'd say that the best way to explore is to do - or to join a community of doers to try somethings out. I think about spaces like Youth Voices - http://youthvoices.org or Teachers Teaching Teachers - http://teachersteachingteachers.org where students and teachers are engaged in the work of digital composition. The Digital Is site, too, is a fabulous collection of stories about writers and teachers exploring digital spaces - http://digitalis.nwp.org
Monday April 4, 2011 4:18 Bud Hunt
4:19
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Digital is site has several stories of how folks got started...
Monday April 4, 2011 4:19 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:20
Bud Hunt: 
Frustratingly, there's always more to learn - isn't that a neat problem? A couple more spaces where smart teachers are sharing their learning -

http://classroom20.com
http://englishcompanion.ning.com/

Lots of kind folks who are happy to share their knowledge. That's another great thing about digital spaces - plenty of kind and thoughtful people in them.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:20 Bud Hunt
4:20
Liana Heitin: 
Just to let everyone know, this chat will be archived so you can grab all these links later.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:20 Liana Heitin
4:20
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
I think an important thing is to allow yourself, as a teacher, to play with the tools for your own interests and purposes too. Part of what is exciting is seeing how these new tools allow you to do something you find important. Once you see that from the inside, you can better imagine what to do with your students.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:20 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:21
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
In this rapidly changing techno-time, it really is the user who is inventing a lot of the applications of the tools.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:21 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:21
Bud Hunt: 
Elyse makes a good point - I told myself as a teacher that I'd never put a student into a tool that I wasn't willing to put myself into, as well. Usually - first - I needed a head start on my students, but not much of one - just enough to make sure that we could accomplish what I thought was essential within the tool. MY students could always help us figure out the details.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:21 Bud Hunt
4:22
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Yes, good point about students, Bud. This is a perfect opportunity to draft them into classroom leadership and have them take important roles in helping everyone to learn.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:22 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:23
Liana Heitin: 
Here's one from Valerie. Bud want to take a first shot?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:23 Liana Heitin
4:23
[Comment From ValerieValerie: ] 
So what are prime examples of tools that work across platforms and OS's. ?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:23 Valerie
4:24
edweekbryan: 
Sorry to interrupt...thanks to chat viewer Josyln to pointing this out: The URL for the Youth Voices site is actually: http://youthvoices.net/
Monday April 4, 2011 4:24 edweekbryan
4:24
Bud Hunt: 
Sure. Valerie - I'm a big fan of Google Docs. It just works. It even *kind of* works as a composition tool on mobile phones. I think that Voicethread is a fascinating tool - and pretty simple to use.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:24 Bud Hunt
4:25
Bud Hunt: 
Oops - Sorry about that bad link -
Monday April 4, 2011 4:25 Bud Hunt
4:25
Bud Hunt: 
I think that anything that works minimally in the browser is a good place to start. If you think a tool might have promise in your classroom, try it out in three different browsers - one that you use all the time, one you never use, and one on a device that isn't yours.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:25 Bud Hunt
4:27
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Right now we have great tools that work in a browser, and are cross platform. Many of the technologies educators have been thinking about for schools are really tools that writers use to create and circulate content: search tools for research, composing and media tools for text, audio, video, and collaborative editing tools like wikis and Google Docs.

Writers are driving this development because they want to be able to interact with their content on a desktop or a mobile phone or wherever. So most blogs, wikis, etc. work well across many situations. Puts a heavy emphasis on internet connectivity though.

-
Monday April 4, 2011 4:27 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:27
Bud Hunt: 
Handy to do that because every IT infrastructure is a bit different - filters, bandwidth, plugins, limitations, etc. The more requirements a tool has, the less likely I am to use it because it won't work for everyone I'm wanting to write with.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:27 Bud Hunt
4:28
Bud Hunt: 
Elyse is right - developers are thinking about these issues, too, and want their products to work everywhere. Oh - I'd be remiss if I didn't share that I think notetaking tools like Evernote that work in multiple ways across multiple platforms are also handy.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:28 Bud Hunt
4:28
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
There are also new tools "in the cloud" that do video editing and audio editing, etc.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:28 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:29
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
But there are some tools that teachers love because what they do seems to fit classrooms so well: glogster, voice thread, google docs, blogging platforms.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:29 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:30
Bud Hunt: 
There are literally tools for pretty much anything that you'd like to try - http://www.go2web20.net/ - but I think that Alton Brown's rule on not having unitaskers in his kitchen is a good one to apply to writing tools in the classroom, too. Look for a few that can do many things rather than a bunch that only do one thing.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:30 Bud Hunt
4:30
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
This site was made by having kids across the country writing in google docs and then publish through the site. It is Letters to Next President: http://www.letters2president.org/. Student letters during 2008 election run up. Many letters still up 3 years later. At one point there were 7000 student essays published all done in google docs
Monday April 4, 2011 4:30 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:31
Liana Heitin: 
Jim wants to know about pre-writing tools.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:31 Liana Heitin
4:31
[Comment From JimJim: ] 
many of these are production tools -- tools designed to produce an artifact in final form. Do you have any suggestions for cognitive tools -- mapping, outlining, organizing tools?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:31 Jim
4:32
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
@ Jim Good observation, yes. Bud, what are your favorites? I'm a fan of mind mapping tools and also book marking tools like Diigo for collecting research.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:32 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:33
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
I also like simple wikis for collaborative project planning.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:33 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:34
Bud Hunt: 
Jim - here are a few http://www.go2web20.net/#tag:mindmap
I find that I use text as my organization tool, and Evernote does lots of my collecting and organizing needs just fine, but many of my students were more comfortable with mindmaps and the like - sticky notes - digital and analog - work well for us for those sorts of projects.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:34 Bud Hunt
4:35
Bud Hunt: 
I find, too, that tools that allow me to make hyperlinks back and forth across them are helpful. Hypertextual composition is both end product and organizer.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:35 Bud Hunt
4:36
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
This is an area where it is great to have students work offline the same way they might work online. For example, if we are collecting resources in the classroom offline, we can talk to students about organizing them by "tagging" and go through a tagging exercise. Then, when they are online they will have that principle in mind: what tags, used to group in what ways, etc. But if we don't talk about it that way, they can see 'tagging' as an entirely different thing and not draw on what they know from their own common sense.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:36 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:37
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Similarly, doing a lot of webbing in order to organize a piece of writing and display a text in process offline in the classroom provides experience with that way of thinking online.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:37 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:38
Bud Hunt: 
And the sort of fiddling back and forth between digital and analog text works both ways - when we review websites, we often represent the pieces that are online as sticky notes on a dry erase board - and move them around on the wall before heading back to the Web.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:38 Bud Hunt
4:39
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Yes, there are many organization tools now, especially apps for something like the ipad that use the 'cork board' as a metaphor. So this is tech taking its user interface from the analog world. But since it is online, we can preserve and publish our work in progress for response and work collaboratively across distances.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:39 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:40
Liana Heitin: 
Sounds like offline and online work really go hand in hand. Here Ann asks a great question about adapting instruction.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:40 Liana Heitin
4:40
[Comment From AnnAnn: ] 
So what are the key differences between instruction for traditional writing and for digital writing? Structure? Brevity? Additional media? Tone?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:40 Ann
4:41
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
@Ann, I read your question as about the writing itself...the art and craft of what we are asking them to do.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:41 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:42
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
We certainly see that writing meant to be read on the screen has some emerging characteristics -- though it has much in common with writing meant to be read on the page.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:42 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:42
Bud Hunt: 
I read it that way, too, Elyse. Ann - For me, way you adapt to digital writing instruction is the same way that you adapt to other "different" genres, or forms or audiences - you have to understand the opportunities and limitations of the space/genre/form, the needs of the writer and the needs of the audience.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:42 Bud Hunt
4:43
Bud Hunt: 
So if you were going to "teach" Twitter - you'd have to talk about the limitations of characters and the way that tweets are consumed. And you explore those and work to write in ways that take advantage of those.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:43 Bud Hunt
4:44
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Some emerging characteristics: writing can be multimodal and can integrate text, audio, image, video, etc. And we see that the multimodal aspects are very powerful rhetorically. Writers can now design the presentation of the writing rather than handing it over to another specialist to do that design.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:44 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:44
Bud Hunt: 
That said - can't say I'd "teach" Twitter. But I'd certainly explore elements of microblogging - why is it popular? Why does Facebook have a wall? Why do people spend so much time looking at it? What sorts of stuff gets posted there? Why? To what effect?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:44 Bud Hunt
4:45
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
I think the fact that we hyperlink "in and out" of a text is important. I also think the fact that the reader/viewer gets to make choices about navigating is important. So lots of digital writing is shorter, made to be combined and recombined in different ways.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:45 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:46
Bud Hunt: 
I also think we allow ourselves to get distracted by the "digitalness" of the work - and sometimes we skip the intense focus on audience and purpose that I hope is the foundation of writing instruction.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:46 Bud Hunt
4:47
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
I agree that it is still mostly audience, purpose, and what I have to say. But I do think in digital writing we expect a more participatory culture. We don't just send it off into the ether. We expect comments, or rewrites, or remixes. Part of the tone issue is the tone we connect with this invitation to participate.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:47 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:48
Bud Hunt: 
True - the fact that the places where we "publish" can also allow readers to talk back makes for some fascinating moments for both reader and writer - and we get a turn at being both.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:48 Bud Hunt
4:48
Bud Hunt: 
That's why I fell in love with digital writing as a teacher, too - the idea that our students could actually write for an audience other than me was important.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:48 Bud Hunt
4:49
Liana Heitin: 
We're getting a bunch of questions about school filters.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:49 Liana Heitin
4:49
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
What about the fact that schools block (filter) online tools for writing, such as wikis, blogs, and social media sites? Do you think this mindset will change, and if so, how can we then teach about digital citizenship so administrators don't see the need to block sites providing interactive writing tools.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:49 Guest
4:49
Bud Hunt: 
That publishing could become a habit rather than an event was compelling, too.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:49 Bud Hunt
4:49
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
When I see students struggling to adapt writing to a digital platform, much of what I see they working through is learning how the platform works. So this is about learning the design of publication. For example, seeing that the platform will take your first 200 words and turn it into a summary of your blog post sends you back to rethink how you open a piece. Will those 200 words work as an intro or not? So a lot can be done through observing how something works for you as a reader and then drawing concklusions.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:49 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:50
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
In the recent Speak Up 2010, students complained about filters most of all! :-)
Monday April 4, 2011 4:50 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:50
Bud Hunt: 
I'm glad filters have come up - Schools don't block those sites - the people who manage the filters do. Oftentimes, by accident or ignorance. I'd encourage those of you in places where the filter's keeping you from doing the work you'd like to do to get involved in your district's conversations about filtering.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:50 Bud Hunt
4:51
Bud Hunt: 
I found that knowing the name of the person who managed our filter as well as what the policy was for unblocking resources helped me to navigate our filter when it was a problem. Now that I'm in IT, I know that making sure we have a clear line of communication on our filter is important.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:51 Bud Hunt
4:52
Liana Heitin: 
That's great advice, Bud.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:52 Liana Heitin
4:52
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
We absolutely need to teach digital citizenship. I'm a fan of the Common Sense Media DS curriculum. Teaching digital citizenship is the response to filters. We over filter in most places, far far beyond what the law requires.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:52 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:52
Bud Hunt: 
I also know that issues of filtering are caught up in issues of safety - we in schools have been able to believe that if we could keep students away from the "bad places," we could prevent problems - but as students come to school with their own networks in their pockets, that doesn't work any more.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:52 Bud Hunt
4:53
Bud Hunt: 
Elyse brings up a fine resource in Common Sense Media - I'd encourage you to explore their curricula and resources on safety and citizenship.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:53 Bud Hunt
4:54
Bud Hunt: 
We've talked a great deal about filtering in my school district - here's a link that'll get you into that conversation if you'd like to know more - http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2009/10/03/would-you-please-block/
Monday April 4, 2011 4:54 Bud Hunt
4:54
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Also, CoSN has great resources aimed at administrators to help them think through how to support Web 2.0 education while still maintaining their responsibilities to the community and parents. We have included many of them at the Digital Is website at www.digitalis.nwp.org
Monday April 4, 2011 4:54 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:54
Liana Heitin: 
We haven't touched on writing conventions yet. Here's one from Sheree.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:54 Liana Heitin
4:54
[Comment From Sheree PandilSheree Pandil: ] 
I work with teachers K-12 and listen to their concerns about writing conventions and how grammar, spelling and punctuation are getting worse because students do not switch back to appropriate conventions in more formal settings. I believe it is about teaching students to pay attention to different forms of writing and writing with an audience and purpose in mind. What are reasonable expectations when it comes to conventions?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:54 Sheree Pandil
4:56
Bud Hunt: 
Sheree - Yes - I think it is about helping students to consider their audience and the "rules of the conversation. I don't know that we're explicit enough about our expectations with students when they write in the classroom. That said, I have seen that students certainly know the difference between "classroom voice" and "text voice" and "student voice" and "Grandma voice" - but we often don't tap into their knowledge or remind them to switch back and forth.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:56 Bud Hunt
4:57
Would you like to see more Ed Week events on digital writing?
Yes.
 ( 97% )
No.
 ( 3% )

Monday April 4, 2011 4:57 
4:57
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
I agree with Bud. Sheree has already answered this question herself! We see, generally, that students are able to and learn to 'code-switch' among conventions for different tools. But they often need to be helped to study new platforms and communities. It is often not that they 'can't' shift their conventions but rather that they don't know what the rules are in the new space.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:57 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:57
Bud Hunt: 
I think it's reasonable to be explicit about what our expectations are. I like to have folks students write the same request to a principal, a friend and a family member - it's a concrete way to begin that conversation.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:57 Bud Hunt
4:59
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Also, students should be encouraged to use and learn about all the editing tools available in digital spaces. I have seen places where those editing tools are 'turned off' in an effort to push students away from what some consider a crutch. But professional writers use those crutches all the time, so why not students.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:59 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:59
Liana Heitin: 
We're just about out of time here. Bud and Elyse, any closing words/advice?
Monday April 4, 2011 4:59 Liana Heitin
4:59
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
Of course, it is hard to write about conventions when writing quickly in a chat environment! :-)
Monday April 4, 2011 4:59 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
4:59
Bud Hunt: 
Oh, yes, Elyse. I find it extremely odd that the idea of students using spell check on a state writing exam is even newsworthy.
Monday April 4, 2011 4:59 Bud Hunt
5:01
Bud Hunt: 
Final thoughts - well, I'd encourage all of you to write and write often with your students. The best way to get better as a writer, in analog or digital spaces, is to write in them. I think it's never been a more exciting time to be writing - so many opportunities to explore and ways to create - video, audio, text, and mashups of all of the above.
Monday April 4, 2011 5:01 Bud Hunt
5:02
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl: 
My last advice is to encourage us to celebrate the power that new tools give to writers, even 'student writers." That encourages us to imagine big and ambitous writing projects to do with our students.

Kids and teachers too respond to ambition. Think of gamer culture – idea is to save the world or conquer evil. It’s big. We have the tools to inspire ourselves with ambitious projects in writing where we can really add value to the world and interact with people we would never otherwise get to meet. Writing is more engaging, and brings out the commitment of the writer to work hard, draft by draft, when it is important and real.

-
Monday April 4, 2011 5:02 Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
5:02
Liana Heitin: 
My apologies to those attendees whose questions I did not get to. Thanks to everyone for participating and asking such insightful questions. And a special thanks to Elyse and Bud for the incredibly valuable info and resources.
Monday April 4, 2011 5:02 Liana Heitin
5:02
Bud Hunt: 
Oh, and writing is, and always has been, hard. That's okay. It's worth doing.
Monday April 4, 2011 5:02 Bud Hunt
5:03
edweekbryan: 
A huge thanks to our guests Bud and Elyse, our moderator Liana, and to all of you for being with us this past hour. We had an enormous number of questions come in, and we're sorry we couldn't get to address them all.

There will be a transcript of today's chat posted on this same page within the hour. Thanks again for joining us today, all!
Monday April 4, 2011 5:03 edweekbryan
5:06
edweekbryan: 
For more from Bud Hunt, check out his website: http://www.budtheteacher.com/ or his Twitter account, http://twitter.com/budtheteacher.
Monday April 4, 2011 5:06 edweekbryan
5:07
edweekbryan: 
And you can find more about Elyse's work here, at the National Writing Project website: http://www.nwp.org/. You can also see her work in the book "Because Digital Writing Matters," which she co-authored.
Monday April 4, 2011 5:07 edweekbryan
5:08
edweekbryan: 
Thanks again, ladies and gents! Stay tuned for a chat transcript being posted within the hour.
Monday April 4, 2011 5:08 edweekbryan
5:08
 

 
 
 

Teaching Digital Writing: More Than Blogs and Wikis

Monday, April 4, 4 p.m. Eastern time

These days, pen-and-paper and word-processing skills are not enough to fully prepare students for writing beyond K-12. Students also need direct instruction in digital writing—or writing created or read on a computer or other Internet-connected device. Digital writing requires both traditional writing skills—knowledge of the process, conventions, organizational structure, etc.—and more advanced techniques, such as the ability to meld visual, audio, and text into a single piece.

In this live chat, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, a director of programs with the National Writing Project, and Bud Hunt, an instructional technologist and former language arts teacher, answered questions about how new digital tools and platforms are changing writing instruction, and what this means for teacher professional development.

Guests:
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl is the director of national programs and site development at the National Writing Project. She previously taught high school English and journalism, and was an educator professor and a director of the Maryland Writing Project at Towson University. She is a co-author of the book Because Digital Writing Matters.

Bud Hunt, is an instructional technologist with the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colo., and a teacher-consultant with the Colorado State University Writing Project. Formerly, he was a high school language arts and journalism teacher. He blogs about his teaching experiences at budtheteacher.com and was one of several educators featured in Because Digital Writing Matters.

Liana Heitin, Associate Editor of Education Week Teacher and the Teacher PD Sourcebook, moderated this chat.

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