I recently read The Digital Writing Workshop by Troy Hicks. This is the book that every English teacher in America should be reading. Troy Hicks takes the traditional writer’s workshop, introduced by well-known educators, such as, Donald Graves and Nancie Atwell, and reinvents it to include the all important digital element.
On page 5, Hicks discusses the purpose of his book, which relates to the obvious changes in technology; he explains how to create a writing workshop that goes beyond paper and pencil to implement a workshop that emphasizes 21st Century skills. Hicks addresses RSS, blogs, wikis, and podcasts, and he provides a companion website to support the book at the Digital Writing Workshop Ning.
I love that Hicks discusses how to introduce NPR’s This I Believe series into the classroom. His ideas, thoughts, and rubrics are more than enough reason to buy this book. If your high school is not implementing this writing assignment at some level in your school, I highly suggest that you visit the website and buy Hick’s book to discover why it is a keeper.
The most important element that Hicks brings up is on page 104 when he discusses why we are missing the point when we assign digital projects as assignments. Is the font, the colors, or even the number of slides used, make a project relevant? None of this really assesses whether a student can effectively create a worthy digital product. As an English teacher who understands that digital elements and images are connected to words on a deeper level than just using the required number of pictures in the slides, I know this is true, but assessing and creating a rubric is difficult. The Digital Writing Workshop demonstrates not only how to use new technologies, but also provides teachers with charts of effective digital writing. If you have just purchased this book, turn to page 115 to figure 6.2 to see what I mean.
I have used wikis and nings with my students, but this is the first year I have ventured into letting my students support their own personal blog. Hicks created a Blogger’s Matrix that includes assessments for teachers to use with student bloggers in the classroom. I plan to incorporate these assessments into my classroom.
I was excited to find a book called The Digital Writing Workshop. The title alone inspired me, and I knew that this would be a book that would be an invaluable resource in my classroom.
I recently read on the ning that the Heinemann is offering a special discount on this book thorough Nov. 30th. I encourage you to purchase the book to discover how you can change your classroom with digital writing.