Digital Learning

Chocolate and Change: Gaming for Social Justice, from Assessing Students’ Digital Writing

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Author: Christina Puntel

Summary: In this sample chapter from Assessing Students’ Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely, a teacher-consultant shares insights from the collegial feedback she received on a student-led food justice project and the implications for her instruction and assessment. For teachers whose students engage in complex projects, this offers a model of how teachers used the Descriptive Review process to produce a more in-depth and valid assessment of student work than any traditional rubric could provide.
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On Becoming Change Writers

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Author: Pamela Bodnar and Gail Desler

Summary: For sites interested in creating opportunities to use writing and technology to connect students, teachers and community partners to explore intersections around issues of social injustice and to empower them to take social action, this curated collection of videos, images, and written words of children and their teachers provides a host of powerful stories and resources to inspire and begin to plan. The rich collection of resources demonstrate what it means for learners to have spaces and tools that enable them to use multimodal writing for inquiry and to “find a place in the world,” to connect historical events of social injustice to experiences of today and their own lives and identities.
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Literacy in the Digital Age: Nine Great Speaking and Listening Tools

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Author: Natalie Franzi and Steve Figurelli

Summary: This blog post showcases nine different digital tools and links to related resources useful in engaging students and/or teachers in sharing stories or other work through a variety of media and to a variety of audiences. Thoughtful use of digital tools enables both students and teachers to be “active creators of content.” This entire could be used in professional development on digital learning.
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The Relationship of High School Student Motivation and Comments in Online Discussion Forums

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Author: Chris Sloan

Summary: Although online discussions have become more and more ubiquitous, there is a dearth of research that has looked at relationships between students’ commenting and motivation to learn. Course and program designers wishing to better structure discussions in online learning communities to take into account traits of comments students find most valuable may be interested in mining this research study of 12th graders. Discussion posts and comments composed on http://youthvoices.live helped to identify ways to enhance motivation to learn.
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Reflections on an Online Teachers Writing Group

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Author: Anne Elrod Whitney

Summary: After participating in an NWP program, teachers may be eager to continue writing and yet may find themselves consumed by other obligations related to teaching and their personal lives. This thoughtful article offers concrete, constructive protocols for sustaining a writing group online as well as authentic models of collegial response and reflection upon the implications of teacher writers experiences for their own clasroom student writing groups.
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Tech Tools for Teachers, by Teachers: Video Game Design in the Classroom

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Author: Greg Kehring

Summary: What can the writing process teach students and teachers about video game design, and how can game design expand our understanding of writing genres? Read about this middle school teacher who used Gamestar Mechanic to engage his students in digital writing and connected learning. From “creation” to “peer revision” and finally publication on a gaming website where others played the games and offered feedback, he and his students discovered the power technology can have in understanding composing and creative processes and providing new avenues for writing. For teachers who are reluctant to engage in digital work (or who are ready to take some new steps), this article can provide encouragement, guidance, and testimony about how students learn and respond to such experiences.
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Bridging the Disconnect: A Layered Approach to Jump-Starting Engagement

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Authors: Nanci Werner-Burke, Jane Spohn, Jessica Spencer, Bobbi Button, and Missie Morral

Summary: This article describes how middle school teachers looked closely at their own practice with the goal of increasing student engagement. As they explored digital tools and multimodal texts and publishing, they came to recognize the need to interweave attention to the social aspects of students’ learning with their own teaching. In the process, four key ideas rose to the forefront: the use of writing as a tool for engagement and learning, the importance of preparing students to compete in an increasingly digitized world, and the motivational appeal of the graphic novel genre. The results of their inquiry may serve as an example of how teachers can examine their own writing and classroom practices to develop new strategies to engage their students.
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Students Take a Stand

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Author: Scott Glass

Summary: Are you looking for resources to help teachers to use digital media in safe and positive ways in their classes? This teacher’s brief essay describes the curriculum he created to support his students to develop a productive digital routine, craft a positive online identity, and use social media to be generous, kind, and thoughtful. As they developed skill using YouTube Editor, WeVideo, and iMovie, they addressed a real-life tension with anonymous, bullying posts on Yik Yak by leveraging social media in a positive way. The video they developed, as a class, is embedded in the article.
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Business Planning for Program Development

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Summary: This resource outlines a guided inquiry for NWP site leaders interested in designing a new or revitalizing an existing site program. It is designed to capture the process and thinking involved in determining site capacity and priorities and organizing a revenue-generating program at any local site. As a series, these four sessions pull together the organizational aspects of a program–financial, physical, personnel, and relational–with the goal of establishing a program structure that is self-sustaining. Each session consists of steps that include inquiry prompts and tasks designed to lead teams through the thinking and work essential to designing a self-supporting, revenue-generating program. The sessions can be followed sequentially as a whole program, or individual sessions can be explored and revisited as stand-alone resources.
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Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design

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Summary: “Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement.” This report—which emerged from the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, of which the National Writing Project is a key member—describes a set of design and learning principles meant to support a new approach to learning and presents the latest findings in the design and implementation of Connected Learning principles in education.
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Introduction: Why Digital Writing Matters

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Author: National Writing Project, with Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks

Summary: What does it mean to write digitally? What does it mean to be a teacher of writing in a digital age? In this introduction to the book, Because Digital Writing Matters, the authors provide an overview in response to these questions. They include a review of historical perspectives on writing, of expanding definitions of digital writing, and of the impact of the integration of technology on the teaching and learning of writing. In addition, they explore what digital writing might look like in classrooms including a discussion of the new media Literacy tools, strategies, skills, and dispositions that are necessary to operate within our expanding participatory culture. This chapter and related resources may be especially useful for study groups, as well as those planning professional development or developing grant proposals focused on digital literacy.
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Teacher Discoveries and Connected Learning

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Author: Joe Dillon

Summary: How does digital writing shift our teaching? This blog post describes how multiple NWP teachers have applied Connected Learning principles to their classrooms. Hyperlinks within the piece take readers to additional details about each teacher’s work. From discovering how blogging can inform writing instruction to enacting paperless classrooms, readers can come away with innovative ways to integrate technology. Any site professional development or summer institute session about integrated digital instruction could use this resource to explore new strategies and tools.
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CRWP: Teaching On-Demand Argument Writing

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Summary: This online learning experience from the College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) supports on-demand writing. A PowerPoint with a slide-by-slide voiceover, it takes you through a step-by-step approach to teaching on-demand arguments of policy. It uses a two-day reading and writing task as a teaching prompt and another reading-based prompt as the task students complete on-demand. The PowerPoint, once downloaded, is editable. This resource could provide a digital writing experience for teacher groups to explore their own on-demand argumentative writing skill, or it could be used as a model so teachers can form their own on-demand readings and prompts.
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Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education of the 21st Century

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Author: Henry Jenkins

Summary: This resource challenges teachers and schools to have conversations about the social skills, technological access, and cultural competencies involved in a connected-learning approach to learning and literacy. Written by Henry Jenkins and members of Project New Media Literacies, it describes “new literacies” that rely on collaboration and networking, and argues that schools have been slow to develop pedagogies that support youth in participatory culture, with its potential benefits of “peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship.” Without school involvement, Jenkins argues, groups of students will be left behind in developing the new skills and competencies needed to succeed “as full participants in our society.” For teacher leaders who want to offer ideas and help their colleagues understand and embrace participatory culture in school settings, this resource is a place to begin the conversation.
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Writing Project Teachers as Writers and Bloggers

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Author: Grant Faulkner

Summary: This article highlights NWP teachers/consultants who use blogs as a tool for inquiry and reflection and as a way to converse with a community of educators about their classrooms, their pedagogy, and educational reform. Teachers reading this piece can see the myriad purposes of creating a blog, and also receive tips on how to begin. This article could be used during a summer institute or school-year professional development series to support and inspire teacher and student blogging.
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The Web as a Tool for Continuity

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Authors: Evan Nichols, Carol Tateishi, Sonnet Farrell, Tom McKenna, and Sondra Porter

Summary: How can we keep teachers connected to each other across time and space? This monograph illustrates how the web can be used effectively to facilitate continuity and follow-up opportunities at sites. Showcased are the Bay Area Writing Project’s ezine, Digital Paper, and the Alaska State Writing Consortium’s Virtual Open Institute. This in-depth piece could be helpful for sites whose teachers are geographically distant from each other as they explore shifting to virtual spaces for institutes.
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Michigan Network Learns Together About 21st Century Literacies

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Author: Laura Roop

Summary: This article describes how the Red Cedar Writing Project designed a four-day capacity-building workshop, focused on 21st century literacies, for every NWP site in their state (Michigan). Any site can use this piece as a discussion starter to plan a similar workshop and to determine what web-based resources to use. Specifically, if a site needs help with technology and literacy, this is an excellent “how-to” map that also details important outcomes.
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Using Twitter in Classrooms and for Professional Development

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Summary: How are teens and writing project teachers using twitter and short forms of composition? This brief article provides short descriptions and links to information about how National Writing Project teachers have used Twitter in their classroom, in professional development and networking — all of which provide ideas/insights for professional development workshops and classroom instruction.
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Teachers Teaching Teachers Focuses on Technology and Teaching Writing

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Summary: Teachers Teaching Teachers, a weekly interactive webcast which has been hosted by the New York City Writing Project since 2006, could become an individual or group meeting place for educators wishing to connect with teachers from across the country and the globe for two main purposes: developing teacher knowledge and leadership in schools and districts, and putting this knowledge and leadership to work to improve student online reading and writing through the use of blogs, wikis, podcasts, and webcasts.This piece provides a brief description of the project and a link to Teachers Teaching Teachers where previous webcasts have been archived and are easily searchable as a rich resource.
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Technology in the English Language Learner Classroom?

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Author: Judith Rance-Roney

Summary: How can new technologies foster the love of writing for students in the English language learning classroom? How can our integration of technology narrow the digital divide? Sites or schools looking for specific ideas and strategies to frame a conference workshop or PD session might easily draw from this collaborative, pre-conference Artifact Rotation to sample four technologies—digital storytelling, blogging, podcasting, and Google Docs—enabling attendees to experience how to put students at the center as independent, engaged learner and writers.
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The Landscape of Digital Writing

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Author: National Writing Project, with Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks

Summary: This first chapter of Because Digital Writing Matters explores the new digital landscape for writing, examining both the complexities and challenges of digital writing for teachers and students, and unpacking what is necessary for educators and policymakers to understand in order to develop and sustain effective digital writing programs and curricula. In addressing myths and realities involved in teaching, learning and assessing digital writing practices, the authors offer numerous examples of rich and integrated ways educators have found to meet state standards through connected learning and leveraging the ability to create and share ideas, resources, and information across digital spaces. This chapter offers perspectives and background that may be useful in promoting conversations related to navigating the changing roles of teachers and students in response to the changing digital landscape.
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Students Tell Their Stories Digitally

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Author: Joel Elliott

Summary: When designing a digital storytelling workshop, it may be easy to forget that it’s really about the telling of stories and the writing practices that generate powerful narratives. This piece provides a good conceptual starting point and reminder that in such settings, students are more engaged, willing to work harder and write longer pieces–and all the while quite adept at figuring out the technology.This is important for teachers nervous about not knowing the latest digital tools.
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Why We Need a #techquity Conversation

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Author: Joe Dillon

Summary: This blogpost introduces a foundational conversation about issues of equity, technology, and instruction. Easy to read and digest, the post offers readers access to an ongoing discussion occurring on Twitter that has its own hashtag: #techequity. The post includes great hyperlinks outward to related conversations.
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Immigrant Teens in the South Bronx Learn the Art of Online Discussion

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Author: Kathleen Costanza

Summary: This article describes the work of immigrant youth in the South Bronx as they discuss the novel “Sold” about a Nepali girl named Lakshmi whose stepfather sells her into slavery. A LRNG grant developed by the NYC Writing Project and four teachers enabled youth and teachers to use the Youth Voices platform for this and other student-driven online writing projects that fostered opportunities to write for authentic audiences.
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No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait

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Author: Troy Hicks and Kristen Hawley Turner

Summary: Calling for reflection upon and critique of how technology is typically used in schools, authors Hicks and Turner caution that technology in the classroom cannot be viewed simply as an add-on, but must instead be used to cultivate distinctly digital literacies, inviting students “to critically consume information, to create and share across time and space, to cocreate and collaborate to solve problems.” Providing a list of tech do’s and don’ts, they call on teachers to “audaciously” advocate for greater cultivation of genuine digital literacy.
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Curriculum Rewired: Teachers and Students Come Together Around Innovative New Pedagogy

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Author: Razeen Zaman

Summary: “Grinding New Lenses,” a four-week summer camp supported by a MacArthur Foundation grant, combined intensive professional development in design thinking for teachers with their leading a program for sixty-five rising sixth- and seventh-grade Chicago area students that engaged them as game designers and digital storytellers. “The end result: students who learned to take on roles as proficient designers, philosophers, writers, and activists; teachers who become avid systems thinkers; and strong curricula that underwent a rapid process of iteration, innovation and refinement.” This article and the related NWP Radio show offer inspiration for teacher leaders planning youth opportunities focused on developing students’ digital literacy.
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A “Connected-Learning” Style and Fashion Program for Adolescents Leads to Career Opportunity

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Author: Kiley Larson, Erin Bradley, Tonya Leslie, Bryan Rosenberg, and Nathan Reimer

Summary: This case study features two Hive Fashion hubs, in Chicago and New York, in a youth program for adolescents interested in fashion as a career field. The program design is built on the recognition that young people need relevant personal relationships and career-relevant opportunities for their learning to make a difference in the real world. The youth viewed their work through the lens of social justice by incorporating social, political, economic, and cultural perspectives into their projects. From ideas to production, teen designers leveraged digital technologies to write posts on social media and to produce their creations. Useful to gain ideas for similar youth programs and to develop ideas related to connected learning, out-of-school literacies, and career education, this resource takes readers to the hubs with photos, detailed descriptions, and a video.
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Oakland Writing Project’s Literacy Webinar Series: Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces with a Focus on Revision

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Summary: In partnership with the Oakland School District, the Oakland MI WP developed and hosted an online webinar series focused on revision. Links to all of the webinars, resources, and related readings for the 2015-16 series (Revision: the Heart of Writing) and 2014-15 (Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces) are available here. The strong line-up of presentations gives a deep look into both revision and digital literacy. Individual webinars could be great additions to professional development sessions that have a revision or digital literacy component. Additional workshops and webinars are also posted on this site.
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Understanding and Creating Digital Texts

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Guests: Richard Beach, Antero Garcia, Nicole Mirra, and Lara Trale

Summary: This recording provides an in-depth look at supporting youth to create and curate digital texts. Richard Beach and university/school colleagues discuss practices that encourage youth as they create digital texts to define purpose and audience, make connections between digital texts and people, collaborate with others, employ multimodal forms of communication and gain new perspectives, and construct identities. The webinar also asks: how can we guide students’ digital work using a connected learning lens, and with a civic engagement mindset? The multiple resources included here can be a valuable guide during professional development about digital writing and learning, or used as a professional reading during a Summer Institute.
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Math Blogs: Fostering Voice, Ownership, and Understanding Online

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Author: Howard Rheingold

Summary: This article describes how a mathematics teachers became a connected educator, and how he and his precalculus students in Winnipeg began blogging. Students took turns with daily scribing — reflecting, summarizing, and connecting with each other locally and, serendipitously, with others beyond their school, e.g., a 5th grader in Georgia. Other forms of social media provided opportunities for their teacher to share student strategies and resources through live tweets with teachers and other students across the globe. This practical piece provides inspiration and wisdom for educators seeking ideas to jump start and support digital learning in mathematics.
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Reimagining Learning in Libraries and Museums (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Imagine out-of-school learning spaces where museum and library educators create digital access for youth. The discussion focuses on students as makers rather than as consumers. Organizational partners discuss ways in which YOUmedia Network has impacted educators’ commitments to teen learning.
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Literacy in the Digital Age

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Guests: Natalie Franzi, Steve Figurelli, Paul Oh, and Claire Rivero

Summary: In this webinar representatives from the NWP, the Teaching Channel, and Student Achievement Partners discuss effective uses of digital literacy tools, arguing that our vision must evolve to incorporate a new approach to literacy instruction, one in which technology becomes an accelerator to create and personalize meaningful learning contexts. This video would be a good way to launch a discussion about online tools and out-of-school literacies. The speakers also recommend specific digital tools and strategies.
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CRWP Mini-Units

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Summary: This resource from the College-Ready Writers Program features one-minute videos that define mini-units and explain the value of using nonfiction sources/texts. There are links to related pages on the CRWP website that focus on creating text sets and on developing and sequencing mini-units. These resources will take facilitators and teachers through both the content and implementation of researched argumentative modules, with space to supplement or customize. Teachers can write in response to some of the units to see how they might work with students.
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Teaching Reading: A Semester of Inquiry

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Author: Antero Garcia

Summary: Interested in establishing a writing center at your institution? This resource describes all aspects of running a writing center and reviews the many issues to be considered by anyone seeking to establish one, from developing program goals to funding to staffing and staff training. Useful as the focus for a study group, advanced institute or program development meeting, this resource can serve to focus an inquiry into how teachers might take the idea of a writing center back to their schools.
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VoiceThread Ties Together Student Voices, Images, and Writing

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Author: Shullamuth Smith

Summary: Writing Project teachers discuss ways in which they have used the website VoiceThread with their students to create online, multimodal presentations that allow for a range of feedback. In addition to enabling students to add voice narratives to their own work, VoiceThread allows teachers and others to record comments to students. The resource includes a video and responses to student work in response to the Day of Tolerance that featured the stories of survivors of Japanese internment camps.
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Resources For Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship: Spotlight on Common Sense Media

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Author: Tiffany Chiao

Summary: Concerned about students’ safe and responsible internet use? This resource describes Common Sense Media, an interactive website that helps kids navigate the Internet safely and interact with their peers responsibly and respectfully. The website also provides resources for parents and curriculum for teachers to serve those ends. Common Sense Media could be helpful if you are looking for resources to recommend to parents who are concerned about the content and quality of online spaces.The website may also help teachers who are working toward family or community partnerships.
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Digital Storytelling for Language and Culture Learning

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Author: Judith Rance-Roney

Summary: Interested in introducing digital storytelling in a writing classroom? Rance-Roney, a teacher with the Hudson Valley Writing Project, explains digital storytelling, discusses its strengths in promoting literacy, and, by documenting her own multilingual classroom work, suggests a path for getting started with this technology.
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The State of Student Technology: A Webcomic Analysis

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Author: Kevin Hodgson

Summary: An innovative and multi-purpose webcomic provides an example of how to: 1) survey and represent data from students about their use of technology and media (mostly outside of school), and 2) document and reflect on one’s teaching (and use of digital tools) in a useful format for both students and teacher-assessment purposes. Key insights support perceptions regarding the savviness and fearlessness of students while at the same time pointing to the need for teachers and parents to guide them in addressing issues of privacy and responsibility as they compose with media.
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Heart and Voice: A Digital Storytelling Journey

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Author: Kerry Ballast

Summary: Kerry Ballast’s essay tells the story of how she transformed her teaching and her relationship with her students and technology. doing what she knows best as a teacher of writing while, at the same time, learning from and with her tech-savvy students. Together they transform their early memoir writing into multi-modal digital stories. Ballast’s story could be an inspirational piece to read and discuss at a workshop, summer institute or with teacher inquiry group. It’s a personal teaching story of risk-taking and the rewards that come from engaging technolgoy while trusting the process to celebrate the voices and lives of students. The link in the text to Story Center, a site that offers additional resources including webinars on digital storytelling.
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College-Ready Writers Program Lesson Study (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Guests on this radio program were part of NWP’s College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) who participated in an online version of a lesson study focused on two mini-units. Guests talk about how the structure of the lesson study has impacted their practice, their experience with teaching the mini-units in their classrooms, and their experience with participating in the online community. Site leadership teams may develop a similar online lesson study using lessons learned by these educators about digital interaction in professional inquiry groups. This resource may be useful for sites who want to engage in continuity across rural areas, or teachers want to try the argumentative writing modules and compare processes and outcomes with other educators.
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Literacy, Technology, and the Underprepared: Notes Toward a Framework for Action

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Author: Glynda Hull

Summary: After introducing cases of underprepared students using computers in a community college literacy course, Glynda Hull raises important issues and tensions related to the role of technology in the teaching of writing. While she argues for the democratizing potential of “information technologies” to support a liberatory pedagogy, she also acknowledges that greater access within structural constraints of schools and writing centers must also be addressed to best support the diversity of these students. Although there are a few terms and technologies representative of its 1988 publication date, this piece may be explored from an historical perspective, perhaps as part of a study group or retreat focused on equity, access, social justice and advocacy.
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Evolving the Research Paper

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Author: Jack Zangerle

Summary: This blog post describes an alternative research-writing project: developing public service announcements (PSAs). This resource may be helpful as a model for any instructors who want their students to develop PSAs for civic engagement or for the development of digital skills and message-making. This digital “making” event could also be used during summer youth writing camps. A student-created PSA is included with the blog post.
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Challenges for Writing Teachers: Evolving Technologies and Standardized Assessment

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Author: Anne Herrington and Charles Moran

Summary: This introductory chapter discusses existing and emerging technologies and electronic text types for use in curriculum and assessment. While the authors provide examples of how teachers have embraced new forms of writing by developing relevant learning objectives and e-projects, they also argue that automated assessment of writing limits student writers in the service of data compilation needs. Useful as a teacher inquiry piece or for NWP site leaders as they work with state entities and school administrators in partnership development, this chapter has helpful references from experts who have sifted through various electronic tests, companies, and state processes.
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What Is Connected Learning?

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Summary: This webpage offers a perfect introduction and framework to explain how principles of connected learning can inform environments and practices that engage adolescents. This resource is a springboard for discussion of additional related materials that offer illustrations of teaching with connected learning principles in mind.
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Bless, Press, Address: A Formative Response Protocol for Writing Groups

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Summary: A useful resource for a writing group, Bless, Press, Address is a classic NWP formative response protocol designed to guide feedback to a writer on a draft piece of writing. Rather than offering a summative assessment on the quality of the writing, the protocol invites group members to share how the writing was received, felt, and understood. The protocol clearly lays out the purpose of the response, the roles each person plays, and the steps to follow for a productive feedback session.

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Scientific Writing and Technological Change

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Author: Mya Poe and Julianne Radkowski Opperman

Summary: Looking for specific ways to incorporate technology into teaching while leading students through the scientific research process? Noting that writing in science “is a dynamic process that changes quickly with technological change,” this chapter explores specific examples from both high school and college settings that invite students’ dynamic engagement as writers through proposal writing, literature reviews, storying research findings, and peer review. This resource will be of interest to both classroom teachers and those involved in designing professional development programs or seeking ideas for teacher inquiry.
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Striking It Rich: Finding My Digital Story in Northern California

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Author: Corey Harbaugh

Summary: This short piece could be a useful conversation starter or reflective tool in an institute or workshop focused on narrative. Reflecting on his excitement about the allure of new digital storytelling tools, the author reveals his insight that the power of telling our stories and making them public through digital media is also the power of writing itself–for students and for ourselves as teacher-writers.
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Classroom Tools That Work

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Author: Janet Neyer

Summary: This blog post focuses on open source tools (most from Google/Chrome) that may be helpful for students to use at various stages of the writing and research processes. The brief examples of ELA uses of these apps and extensions may assist you in planning professional development focused on supporting all learners in digital spaces. If you are looking for tools yourself for planning and developing content materials for workshops, classroom use, or personal research, this blog post may be directly helpful for you, too.
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Interest-based Learning and Passion Projects

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Guests: Laura Bradley, Kim Douillard, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Paul Oh, Jo Parasio

Summary: In celebration of October’s Connected Educator Month, this webinar focuses on creating opportunities, space, and time for all youth to be agents in their own learning. The participating educators draw inspiration from the “Maker Movement” and the Connected Learning principles as they share ideas and strategies related to the notion of youth agency. Links to numerous additional resources are provided.
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Students as Writers and Composers: Workshopping in the Digital Age

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Author: Troy Hicks and Franki Sibberson

Summary: In this collaborative conversation between former middle school teacher and current National Writing Project site director Troy Hicks and third-grade teacher Franki Sibberson, they consider a range of teaching and learning practices that “guide students to consider themselves multimodal text-makers who combine words, images, sounds,and gestures” as they compose. In the process, they consider key issues related to writing and technology, including redefining “text” and assessing digital writing. A link to the audio of their conversation is included.
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Online Event Supports Debate about Content Area Literacy

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Summary: Twenty-five participants from 15 sites met online to discuss provocative issues related to the recruitment and retention of content area teachers at writing project sites. The group shared thoughts about and experiences with content area literacy and the expansion of sites to include content area literacy teachers into the development of a site.
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NWP and Digital Learning Day (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Kim Doulliard, Janet Ilko, Jeremy Hyler, and Joe Dillon

Summary: Ideal for sites considering special events for the annual Digital Learning Day, this NWP Radio show describes how four teachers advocate for thoughtful and creative use of technology in schools. The teachers share what they have planned in their classrooms and at their Writing Project sites for the 2013 Digital Learning Day and talk about their varied approaches involving technology in their own instructional practice.This piece could be useful for teachers interested in developing similar programs or for school partnerships focused on 21st century literacy skills.
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Thinking Across Civic Education Work

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Guests: Erica Hodgin, Nicole Mirra, Perry Bellow-Handleman, Eddie Lopez, John Rogers

Summary: In this conversation, fourth in a series, two secondary history teachers and educational researchers discuss what happens when students are civically engaged in social justice and advocacy. The teachers share fundamental teaching challenges and opportunities that a curriculum that engages with participatory politics offers them and their students in this digital age. The introduction ends and the conversation begins 10 minutes 35 seconds into the webinar. For the full webinar or podcast and related resources, visit Thinking Across Civic Education Work.
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A Social Networking Space for Teachers of English Language Learners

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Author: Lynn Jacobs

Summary: This article provides the background story of the development of the Know ELL Ning. This article and the Ning, Know ELLs, could be used by PD groups, inquiry or study groups, or within a summer institute to explore content related to teaching English language learners, as well as to learn how such social networks are created and developed over time.
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Because Digital Writing Matters: A Conversation with the Authors

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Summary: The NWP book, Because Digital Writing Matters, examines what teachers, administrators, and parents can do to help schools meet the challenges of digital writing and to equip students with the communication skills they need to thrive in an information-rich, high-speed, high-tech culture. It provides a roadmap for teachers and administrators who are implementing digital writing initiatives in their classrooms, schools, and communities.
Offering practical solutions and models for educators and policymakers involved in planning, implementing, and assessing digital writing initiatives and writing programs, Because Digital Writing Matters examines such questions as the following:

  • What is digital writing?
  • What happens in an effective digital writing classroom?
  • How does digital writing support learning across disciplines?
  • What are fair ways to assess digital writing?
  • How can schools create effective programs to prepare teachers and students to succeed in a digital, interconnected world?

The authors make the case that digital writing is, more than just a skill, a complex activity and mode of thinking that entails, in all grades and disciplines, interfacing with ideas and with the world.
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Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom

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Author: Antero Garcia, Christina Cantrill, Danielle Filipiak, Bud Hunt, Clifford Lee, Nicole Mirra, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, and Kylie Peppler

Summary: This collection of compelling firsthand vignettes written by NWP educators illustrate “connected learning principles” and depict teachers designing opportunities for all students to have access to, participate in, and thrive within the ever-shifting demands of the twenty-first century. This resource will be exciting for teachers looking for inspiring curriculum design that is based in solid research and theory about teaching and learning while engaging the affordances of new media and networked technologies. For further reading, visit Educator Innovator.
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Professional Development in the Digital Age: A Virtual Conference on Digital Literacy

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Author: Kim Douillard

Summary: This short article on the 4T Virtual Conference on Writing could be the perfect starting point for sites/leaders looking to integrate online learning into a program or those ready to make the jump to a fully online conference/professional development experience. Key to the success of the 4T annual online conference, which is hosted by the University of Michigan Schools of Education and Information and the Oakland Schools, has been the 15 hours of training all presenters and facilitators receive on effective interactive webinar facilitation and moderation.
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Such Stuff as Writing Dreams Are Made Of: Technology in the Writing Retreat

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Author: Michelle Rogge Gannon

Summary: This article describes how to plan and implement a Professional Writing Retreat that supports writers who create multimodal texts, and how to troubleshoot technology-related issues that might arise. Included are guidelines for responding to multimodal writers in ways that support their revision in various media. This resource may be useful for groups who are planning writing retreats at their local sites; additionally the revision guidelines may be adaptable for working with students.
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Community Connections for English Learners: Changing the World Starts with Just a Few Words

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: This short article illustrates the ways in which a teacher can engage her colleagues in professional learning and provides examples of classroom activities that built connections between ELL students, their parents and their community. Engaging students in creating digital movies to document the history of discrimination along with the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, Katie McKay encouraged students to consider how agents of change have been successful in securing individual rights. This multimodal, multi-disciplinary piece could be helpful for new teacher leaders or those finding themselves seeking ways to create authentic intersections with their colleagues and their English speaking and ELL students built upon respect for all learners.
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Moving Toward the Paperless Institute

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Author: Eric Hasty and Bob Fecho

Summary: Two summer institute facilitators reflect on their transition, over a number of years, to a paperless institute. From virtual classrooms to a web page, to Meeting Wizard and online surveys, they describe how their summer institute embraced digital technologies as they followed the inquiry, “What if?” One central understanding that evolved was “… technology allows us to create a living space to develop, store, and review our ideas as they grow.” This story of their journey would be a useful resource for summer institute or school-year PD facilitators when they are designing their schedule and making decisions about the best forums for daily logs, communication among the fellows, anthology development, and continuity spaces.
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Exploring “Systems Thinking” with Grinding New Lenses (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Eight teachers from three National Writing Project sites spent a month in Chicago exploring the power of systems thinking to support students in the way they learn, make, and write. Of particular interest to teachers planning and leading young writers programs that focus on digital literacy, this project, called “Grinding New Lenses,” engaged teachers in their own learning and thinking about systems, followed by an opportunity to lead a summer camp with youth from the surrounding area.
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Building Connection and Community as a Social Educator

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Author: Howard Rheingold

Summary: Teacher Brianna Crowley describes how shifting into being a connected educator expanded her network of colleagues and renewed her teaching career. She spotlights benefits and challenges for herself and the students, and provides advice for ways students can connect to the community and to their learning through social media. She also describes online communities that sustain her as a teacher. This resource can offer an informative door for those educators hesitant to learn along with their students in digital ways.
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Literacy, ELL, and Digital Story Telling: 21st Century Skills in Action

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Author: Yumi Matui and Clifford Lee

Summary: This video documents how high school history students created digital stories as part of the American Immigration Project. The semester-long multimodal project incorporated interviews, transcription. discussion, writing voiceover scripts, and digital production. Composing images and audio to create powerful presentations, students shared their stories at a final Exhibition Night screening. Teachers interested in project-based learning will find inspiration as well as practical strategies in the related resources.
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Pew Report Illustrates Impact of Digital Technologies on Student Writing

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Summary: A well-balanced resource for those planning workshops, studying curriculum and developing grants, this report reviews the results of a 2013 survey of NWP and Advanced Placement teachers that focused on the ways digital technologies and tools are shaping the writing of middle and high school students and the practices of their teachers. The findings note that, while digital tools are facilitating teens’ personal expression and creativity, broadening the audience for written material, and encouraging them to write more often, they also present unique challenges including the “creep” of informal style into formal writing assignments and the need to better educate students about issues such as plagiarism and fair use.
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CRWP: Extended Research Arguments

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Summary: This resource from NWP’s College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) includes actual assignments, student work, and interviews with teachers about one student’s process. The “Extended Research Argument” video is a good introduction to the resource, inviting you to explore the ideas behind extended argument and demonstrating how to use the “Inside the Life of Piece of Writing” website in both high school and middle school. For teacher study groups or professional development experiences centered on extended research argument, this resource provides authentic examples of teacher process and student writing.
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Changing Times: Adapting the Invitational Summer Institute to an Online Environment

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Author: Ken Martin

Summary: Ken Martin, director of the Maine WP, shares lessons learned in transitioning MWP’s Invitational Institute from a traditional face-to-face summer program to a year round online institute. This comprehensive study reviews the rationale for moving to an online institute; the successes, struggles, and modifications implemented during the first several iterations; how roles and relationships changed as a result of the move; and how the touchstone activities and rituals of the Summer Institute translate to an online environment. In addition, helpful examples of and protocols for how to translate writing groups, writing marathons, peer response groups, and mentoring to an online environment are included in the appendices. Whether looking to simply incorporate more online components into a PD experience or transitioning to/developing a fully online experience, you will find this report to be an invaluable resource.
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