Skip to main content

Writing 2.0: Technology-Rich Approach to Common Core Writing

What skills are most desired by employers? On most lists, communicate effectively is the number one desired skill.

How do we communicate? We communicate face-to-face, in writing, through various technologies, and multimedia.

What is does it mean to be literate? Being literate is being able to effectively communicate.

Therefore, every classroom must teach digital literacy as part of literacy, and not something separate.
Original image by Andrea Hernandez

Why have technology-rich writing?

Writing is a huge piece of literacy. Writing should occur across content and grade levels.

Common Core writing requires students to create and publish writing online, and to interact and collaborate with others.
Writing Anchor Standard #6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
We must design lessons that incorporates digital mediums for students to communicate and collaborate with others.

"(Students) are no longer passive recipients of information but active creators and distributors of knowledge. Active participants, perhaps motivated by the opportunity to engage in meaningful reading and writing, approach an event as if their presence matters," (Johnson, 2014, p. 12).

Leading Change and examples of technology-rich writing

Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting with Shauna Hamman at the Arizona Department of Education's Leading Change conference about a technology-rich approach to AZCCRS (Common Core) writing.

We shared a plethora of ideas and examples of technology-rich writing in the presentation below.


Some of those ideas include:
  • Instead of a traditional research paper given to the teacher, have students add their research to Wikipedia.
  • Instead of a traditional persuasive essay about saving the planet, Mrs. Hamman's class wrote this: It's Earth Week!
  • Instead of a traditional book report, have them write a book review for Amazon.
  • Instead of a how-to essay, write an online tutorial: Solving the Rubik's Cube. The three students in the pictures wrote the post collaboratively and chose what pictures to use. 
Click here for the resources from our presentation.

What about Internet safety?

Sharing online for the first time can be scary.

It's important we are aware of how to be safe online, model digital citizenship, and provide our students with authentic opportunities to communicate and collaborate online.
Image: SpinCircle, Patrik Jones, CC: BY
This fabulous article by Ronnie Burt called We should talk -- what are you doing to ensure student safety online?, really helped clarify some of the concerns I had, and what I could do about it.

It's also important to be aware of your district's policies about what can be published online regarding photos, videos, names, and student work. Furthermore, know if there are any non-disclosures in your classroom.
 
Final thoughts

Communicating and collaborating online is part of literacy, and teaching our students about digital citizenship and safety in the safe environments of our classrooms prepares them for the world today and the world tomorrow.

Digital literacy is built into the Common Core Standards (Arizona College and Career Ready Standards for those of us in Arizona), and being able to effectively communicate and collaborate online and face-to-face is a skills-set we should cultivate in our classrooms.
  • What examples or ideas of technology-rich writing would you add to our list?
  • How does communicating and collaborating online impact the students?
  • What would you share with those who are concerned about Internet safety and online communication and collaboration?
  • Do you have any other ideas or questions about a technology-rich approach to writing?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with Tech--Part 1

Students need to be taught how to read complex texts. One of the strategies for learning how is close reading. It slows the reader down to notice and ponder more. It also connects meaning and builds systems of thought.

Text complexity with close reading

Complex text requires a close reading. So what makes a text complex? There are three "ingredients" to text complexity:


It's important to understand text complexity to build students' literacy skills. As they become more skilled, they will read more complex text on their own.

Introduction to close reading

Here's an overview of close reading:




What does close reading look like in the classroom?

Here are some examples of close reading at different grade levels and content areas (or components of it such as annotation):
9th-10th grade -- Thinking Notes: A Strategy to Encourage Close Reading by the Teaching Channel 10th grade, Close Reading with nonfiction6th grade, Teaching Annotation4th grade, Close Reading3rd grade l…

Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with Diigo--Part 3

Close reading is a strategy for reading complex text. In Part 1, the focus is how to do a close reading. The focus in Part 2 is how to annotate with iPads. The focal points of this post are the teacher steps in close reading; how to create text dependent questions for informational text in 6th-12th grades; annotating in Diigo; and creating writing activities to go with close reading.
Below are the teacher's steps for creating a close reading lesson. However, the student steps are in the poster shown on the right:

Teacher Step 1: Choose the text

Choose a short and difficult text to do a close reading on. It should be at the frustration reading level.

Some examples to choose from for informational text are short speeches (or excerpts from a speech); research; paragraphs or chapters from biographies, memoirs, or historical accounts to name a few.

Teacher Step 2: Planning

Plan and do what you expect your students to do.
Decide if they will annotate on a paper copy, with sticky notes, o…

Striving for Higher-Order Thinking and Depth of Knowledge

A little over a year ago, I read Higher-order thinking is the exception rather than the norm for most classrooms on Scott McLeod's blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, and have been mulling it over, wondering if our school district is any different.

Over the past year, our teachers periodically collect data with their teams on the types of questions/tasks they ask students. One teacher records teacher questions and the other records student responses on a shared Google Doc; then teams sort through their own data, plotting teacher questions by Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, and student responses to those questions/tasks with Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK). The 2012-2013 data showed we were not very different from other districts; therefore, our teamsset their own goals for higher-order thinking and depth of knowledge.

The data so far for the 2013-2014 school year shows questions asked of students are up and down the Bloom's ladder, equally distributed (with a little less in the c…