Considering that Troy Hicks not only left me out of his book (smile), but then had the temerity to not even send me a review copy (sniff…tears rolling down my cheek), I’m continuing my expose of the great ideas he has shared in it and that I want to remember when I give the book back to its owner. Review Part 1.

  1. New media needs to be informed by what writing teachers know, precisely because writing teachers focus specifically on texts and how situated people (learn how to) use them to make things happen (Anne Wysocki)
  2. MAPS = Mode, Audience, Purpose and Situation…add a second M for media.
    1. Mode refers to the genre of the text, an essay, for instance. It helps us differentiate between particular subgenres.
    2. Media refers to the way in which the text is presented: brochure vs digital story with images and narration.
    3. Audience refers to the characteristics of those who are most likely to receive you work and what they value in good writing; the difference in expectations between writing an email to a friend as compared with your supervisor, for instance.
    4. Purpose refers to the specific action that a writer aims to accomplish with a piece
    5. Situation for the Writer: as writers, we each have particular strengths and weaknesses in terms of our work habits; this ranges from the genres we prefer to write in, to the type of environment we create for writing, to the technologies that we are comfortable composing with.
    6. Situation of the writing: Particular writing tasks make demands of us…deadlines, genre expectations, the implementation of new media such as audio or video and those with whom we are collaborating can all influence how well we work.
  3. ThisIBelieve assignment (Red Cedar Writing Project with Dawn Reed) –
  4. A digital writer constantly questions the ways in which a text is being produced–from the purpose and audience to whom she is writing, to the choice of technologies used to compose a text, to how that text is distributed–and MAPS helps writers make those decisions.
  5. As a multimedia composing process, podcasting allows writers to use the power of tone and inflections, blending tracks and adjusting volume to create just the right effect. By inviting students to use their voice to bring life to a piece of writing, we can help them understand the ways in which oral and written language differ, thus broadening their repertoire of both writing and speaking strategies.
  6. At a basic level, a digital writer can use an effect to “decorate” his digital story. In this manner, a particular piece of media (such as clip art) or effect (such as a transition) would be used to simply fill space or to fulfill a requirement of the assignment. Media or effects can be used to illustrate a digital story…a particular piece of media can be used to illuminate a point. By illustrating or illuminating the text in an appropriate manner, the digital writer employs multimedia for a maximum effect.
  7. Creating digital videos–like photo-essays and podcasts–requires that writers begin the process with a clear sense of mode and purpose, as well as an understanding of what they need to learn about particular technologies in order to build their final projects…
  8. As a digital writing teacher, it’s important to help your students understand how to create and manage their own spaces for digital writing. It is important for them to learn how to contribute to their own communities of digital writers, all the while learning how to create their own portfolios or participate in a wiki around a shared sense of topic and purpose.
  9. Writers who post to the NWP E-Anthology are asked to tell readers whether they want their work to be “blessed,” “addressed,” or “pressed.”
  10. Blogfolio = digital portfolio of writing created with a blog.
  11. When creating a class anthology on a wiki, you are orchestrating the work of all the digital writers in your classroom. Unlike the print anthology, where a student has the potential to dash off a quick piece the day it is due, hand it to the editors, and then not have to participate fully in the writing community, the wiki makes the student’s work–both her individual writing as well as her responses given to others–more public…this type of consistent and recursive process of writing, responding, and revising leads students to become better writers. Unlike an anthology sitting on a shelf, a wiki is easily searchable so students can look up their peers’ work based on the particular person, a title they may remember, or simply a word.
  12. Audio anthologies…creating an audio anthology helps strengthen the community in a digital writing workshop and holds students accountable.
  13. The tools themselves should not be the focus of the assessment. Instead, we need to assess the quality of the information on those slides as well as the ways in which the entire slide show is designed, thus leading to an overall aesthetic effect.
  14. It is that technology seems to be leading us forward to new forms of writing, but, as used by standardized testing programs, backward to the five-paragraph theme (Herrington and Moran, 2009).
  15. Teaching in a digital writing workshop means that we teach students to compose using newer literacies and technologies, not that we simply use technology that assess traditional modes of writing and reply only to traditional measures such as having an obvious thesis statement with adequate supporting details.
  16. Digital spaces complicate….
  17. We ask students to create public digital writing personas at the same time they know that they are doing work for a grade…it is an act of identity formation, a twenty-first century skill [building a brand?] that students need to have as they represent themselves across a variety of online communities.
  18. MAPS, primary tasks of formative assessment:
    1. Mode and media: What genre am i attempting to write in and what medium (or media) will help me best convey my message?
    2. Audience: Who is the intended audience? What other audiences might I reach, intentionally or unintentionally?
    3. Purpose: What is my purpose? How does the broad choice of mode and media as well as specific choices about the topic, organization, and even words I use affect my purpose?
    4. Situation for the writer and the writing: What do I know about this topic and the digital writing tool I hope to employ? How much time and training might I need to create this piece of digital writing?
  19. Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity (CRAP) by Robin Williams
  20. “Writing isn’t just scripting text anymore. Writing requires carefully and critically analyzing and selecting among multiple media elements.” (Why Teach Digital Writing)
  21. Traits of effective digital writers (this is great!):
    1. Determine what you already know and need to learn
    2. Read the directions
    3. Establish a purpose or a question you are trying to answer through your writing
    4. Ask others if you do not understand what you are supposed to do.
    5. Gather any tools, ideas, or materials you might need and determine how best to use them.
    6. Provide a quiet, studious environment in which to think, read and write.
    7. Establish appropriate and reasonable goals for the assignment, taking into consideration the demands of the text, your personal writing goals, and the time needed to write this particular text.
    8. Identify the type of text or genre so you know how to write it.
    9. Generate ideas using a range of strategies: these ideas involve not only the subject but strategies you will use to write it.
    10. Select an appropriate digital writing tool…
    11. Obey copyright laws.
    12. Cite source
    13. Create an appropriate file maanagement system
    14. Develop outlines, storyboard, cluster maps or other appropriate texts, especially when creating multimedia texts, that provide an overview of the project so as to plan accordingly and gather digital resources
    15. Choose digital writing tools that invite collaboration
    16. Check what you write against the assignment and the question your are trying to answer
    17. Check for understanding
    18. Make connections between your writing and your own experience/knowledge
    19. Ask questions to help you generate examples, details or connections
    20. Find supporting details for the ideas you explore in your paper
    21. Make notes and generate other possible approaches as you write.
    22. Evaluate and revise
    23. Illuminate the text by choosing multimedia, hyperlinks and other elements 
    24. Incorporate elements of design
    25. Incorporate feedback from others
    26. Reflect on principles about digital writing.
  22. Six Traits applied to digital writing – great chart included in the book.
  23. There is no single technological solution that applies for every teacher, every course or every view of teaching. Quality teaching requires developing a nuanced understanding of the complex relationships between technology, content and pedagogy and using this understanding to develop appropriate, context-specific strategies and representations (Punya Mishra and Matt Koehler)
  24. Technology is not an add-on or bag of tricks for writing teachers for the twenty-first century; instead technology and writing must be seen as intricately intertwined.
I’ll be writing a reflection on this book later. In short, I really enjoyed this book (even more than another book from NWP where I got bogged down in theory and research at the beginning) because it was so eminently readable and didn’t throw too much at the reader…as a result, I’ve managed to finish reading Troy’s book!
Yet, applying it is a different story. As I look forward to Abydos training this summer, and review the Acts of Teaching book that is the tome for that 12 day session, I find the contrast between Troy’s work and AoT a bit tough to reconcile. Could we just throw out the chapter on publishing with paper books and focus on using wikis for the class anthology? Will one need to join the club to suggest the changes Troy has documented in his book?
I’ll be ordering copies of Troy’s book and sharing it with others. I highly recommend it.

Review Part 1.

Subscribe to Around the

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure