Webcast to Help Teachers Reimagine Writing in a Digital World
6.8.09 | How has the teaching of writing changed in the 21st century? How can teachers navigate the narrow definitions of writing in current national and statewide testing? How have teachers’ goals for student learning changed in the past 20 years?
Editors Anne Herrington, Kevin Hodgson, and Charles Moran from the Western Massachusetts Writing Project will address these and other questions in this interactive webcast on June 10th, drawing from insights and discoveries they made while writing their new book, Teaching the New Writing. The book pulls together teachers’ stories, practices, and examples of students’ creative and expository writing from online and multimedia projects such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, and electronic poetry.
The authors gained many fresh insights during the process, and met with a couple of surprises. They were surprised, for example, that the changes in teachers’ goals and practices were so gradual, so evolutionary. They were not radical breaks with past practice, but assimilation over time to the forces of emerging technologies and the changes they bring to writing. Those changes include what seem to be new genres (for example, blog postings) that may be permutations of other genres (call-in radio shows). They include movement between electronic and paper media that prompt reflection on form and audience. They also include more social and collaborative classrooms and writing.
The authors were also surprised that so few teachers complained about having to “teach to the test”—the statewide or national standards—despite being asked directly to comment on how teaching the “new writing” fit, or did not fit, with standardized testing in writing. Granted, the editors talked mainly with a special set of teachers. Yet these teachers generally felt that in teaching the new writing, they were giving students what they needed for writing in the 21st century, and that their students would not be at a disadvantage when taking the required standardized tests.
The webcast is part of “Teachers Teaching Teachers,” a weekly interactive webcast series that focuses on technology and teaching writing, hosted by the New York City Writing Project. Teachers bring together other teachers from across the country and the globe to discuss issues of classroom practice with new digital technology and to think through shared curriculum projects. See past webcasts here.
For more information on the event including how to participate click here.
The National Writing Project (NWP) is a professional development network supported by the MacArthur Foundation that serves teachers of writing. Their mission is to improve student achievement by improving the teaching of writing and improving learning in the nation’s schools. For more on this grant click here.
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