Thursday, September 6, 2012

Entry #2

  • Given the three elements of the framework Hicks (2009) notes in Chapter 7 -- your students, the subject of writing, and the spaces in which we write -- how would you describe these elements as they are currently present in your classroom and school? What did you already have in place to begin your digital writing workshop? What else did you need to develop in order to make your digital writing workshop successful?
Throughout Chapter 7, Hicks (2009) frequently mentions the fact that it is important for students to understand the audience and purpose for which they are writing (p. 127). Digital technology makes it possible for students to consider and work with an audience outside of the classroom, and to explore different subjects or perspectives based on who their audience is going to be. Similarly, the internet and digital technology makes it much easier for students to broaden their scope of reference, easily find new information or opinions to discuss in writing pieces, collaborate with others, and share their message with a broad spectrum of people. In my opinion, Google Docs is an essential digital tool that should be utilized in every curriculum. I had the opportunity while student teaching to experiment with Google Docs and found that it can easily encompass all three elements of Hicks' framework -- especially improving on the spaces in which we write. Using Google Docs, students had the opportunity to digitally collaborate with one another, going through the processes of peer-review, editing, revising, drafting, and publishing. It was a bit of a process getting started, because each student needed to create their own Google profile which can become confusing in a class of 20 or so students.  However, once everyone was familiar with the site and how it worked, they became quickly proficient in applying the writing process to cyber-space. It also eliminated the necessity of creating a physical learning space for students to collaborate because they could each do so from their own computer, no matter where they were in the room.

I was also able to implement Hicks' subject of writing through the use of digital technology. Most 21st century students are so experienced and literate when it comes to digital technology, using this sort of technology in the classroom is exciting and familiar to them. With tools such as blogs and wikis, I have seen students become more intrinsically motivated to accomplish writing tasks because they view the subject of writing differently; this element of intrigue is also due to the fact that students are now able to produce something that can be shared with the world -- not just with their peers and teachers. Publishing their work on blogs or wikis gives them a new sense of purpose, so they have more motivation to complete it. One of the most frequently asked questions that I got from my students was: "Why do we have to do this?" ("why do we have to write this essay?", "why do we have to write this poem?" etc., etc.). When I found a way to implement digital technologies into the writing process, the students were excited to work on their blogs because they could put so much more creativity and "features" into their writing (such as hyperlinks, pictures, video/audio clips, etc.) -- Of course I knew that the students were still engaging in the same writing process, but the students were so preoccupied with making their blog the best that it could be, that they didn't even realize how much writing they were actually doing. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is so exciting to learn you have had experience teaching using Google Docs. You will be an asset to your peers in class this week as we begin to learn how to use the tool together.

    Also, this entry is great. The fact that you focused more readily on yourself and your own experiences as you made connections to the reading is exactly what you need to do in these entries.