“Digital Is” Website Helps Educators Collaborate and Share Digital Writing Projects

Filed in: Media Literacy, Schools

Filed by Sarah Jackson


Collections of teaching-focused resources on the Digital Is website. Resources explore what educators are learning about writing and the teaching of writing in the digital age.

11.3.10 | For teachers working on digital writing in their classrooms—and especially for those who dream about using blogs, wikis or podcasts but have no idea where to start – help is on the way.

Digital Is (http://digitalis.nwp.org/), a new website hosted by The National Writing Project, is designed as a community for educators (both in school and out) to create and disseminate resources on teaching, writing and new media literacies.

A companion site to the book “Because Digital Writing Matters,” the site features resource collections curated by members of the NWP teacher network and submitted by community members.

The site is divided into three sections: the art and craft of digital writing; teaching and learning; and “provocations” for prompts that invite new thinking about education and culture in the digital age.

You’re invited to join the site here, where you can participate in the discussions and begin adding resources of your own.

The site includes many rich examples of using new media for teaching writing, including reflections from teachers about the challenges and opportunities that arise when using these new tools in the classroom.

One such collection, Engaged Writers: Crafting New Texts, includes a project on serious comics from Dave Boardman, a high school English teacher and co-director of the Maine Writing Project. Boardman writes about the projects that emerged when he gave his students a chance to design a game or comic book in lieu of a more traditional final essay.

One of Boardman’s students, Vanessa, created a graphic novel about growing up in Haiti that blended journalism, original research and photography. 

Boardman discusses how Vanessa had to take on the role of researcher, storyteller, designer and editor for the project, which allowed her take ownership over her own work in powerful and new ways:

Writing this book was serious work for Vanessa. She was committed to telling this child’s story. Even though the child is fictional, she knew his story spoke for so many more children, not just in Haiti, but around the world. As Vanessa approached the work daily in our class and in free periods in the library, she did so with the intensity of one knowing the task was bigger than meeting a deadline or getting a grade. The story was a responsibility, and Vanessa, as a writer, lived up to that.”

You can download Vanessa’s graphic novel here (PDF).


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