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From School to Screen: Why Digital Writing Matters

Troy Hicks, Central Michigan University,

What does it mean to write digitally, create spaces for digital writing in our schools, and extend
assessment practices that account for the complexities of writing in a digital world?

Whether called "21st century skills," "digital literacies," or "technology expectations,"

emerging technology standards present educators with an ever-expanding list of what
students should know and be able to do with computers and the read/write Web. Even
as few as five years ago, typical instruction and expectations for computer literacy
focused mostly on computer operations such as the ability to create and save a file,
change fonts and adjust other document formatting features, and perhaps share a
document via email or a networked storage device. More recently, however, some state
curriculum documents and assessments have moved toward the inclusion of multimodal
composition, and most emphasize technology development and skill built over time and
across experiences. Not all of the technology standards relate specifically to writing; in
fact, many transcend specific subject areas. Writing instruction thus does not carry the
entire burden of students’ development with technology, but insofar as students write
across the curriculum and in service of the disciplines, it can be positioned to play a
significant part.
~ from the forthcoming book, Because Digital Writing Matters, Jossey-Bass, 2010

Creativity/Originality Evaluation and Knowledge Making Observation and Remix Culture

• Create Decision-Making • Apply Inquiry • Amplify
• Design • Critique • Construct • Ask • Attribute
• Develop • Evaluate • Demonstrate • Examine • Circulate
• Express • Influence • Discover • Explore • Distribute
• Innovate • Set Criteria • Emulate • Inquire • Disseminate
• Invent • Choose • Incorporate • Investigate • Engage
• Produce • Decide • Integrate • Observe • Ethical Use
• Impact • Model • Question • Modify
Collaboration • Synthesize • Research • Participate
• Co-Create Articulation • Analyze • Publish
• Collaborate • Articulate • Deconstruct Communication in • Remix
• Compromise • Clarify • Examine Rhetorical Contexts • Repurpose
• Contribute • Define • Process • Audience • Re-present
• Give Feedback • Form • Authorship • Share
• Receive Feedback • Frame Personal Habits of • Perception • Stimulate
• Share • Select Mind • Point of View • Transform
• Accountable • Purpose
Management/Leadership • Accurate • Communicate Critical Thinking
• Implement • Adaptable • Connect and Problem
• Initiate • Efficient • Interact Solving
• Applications
• Manage • Effective • Expand
• Digital media
• Lead • Flexible • Forecast
environments Information Literacy
• Plan • Gaining Expertise • Identify fallacies,
• Systems • Determine
• Prioritize • Metacognition key concepts,
• Organize • Quality of work solutions, trends
Digital Citizenship • Evaluate
• Responsive • Interpret
• Active • Gather
Diversity • Self-Evaluation • Reason
• Creative Commons • Locate
• Cross-Cultural • Understanding
• Copyright • Utilize
Understanding Complexity
• Diverse perspectives • Democratic Process
• Valuing Diversity
• Globalization • Fair Use
• Lifelong Learner
• Interdisciplinary • Participant

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Additional Resources for Teaching Digital Writing
Compiled by Troy Hicks for WSRA 2010, 2/4/10

Beach, R., Anson, C., Kastman Breuch, L.-A., & Swiss, T. (2008). Teaching writing using blogs, wikis, and
other digital tools (1st Ed. ed.). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers.
Herrington, A., Hodgson, K., & Moran, C. (Eds.). (2009). Teaching the new writing: Technology, change, and
assessment in the 21st century classroom Teachers College Press.
Hicks, T. (2009). The digital writing workshop . Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Kajder, S. (2010). Adolescents and digital literacies: Learning alongside our students. Urbana, IL: National
Council of Teachers of English.
Kist, W. R. (2009). The socially networked classroom: Teaching in the new media age. Corwin Press.
Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2006). New literacies: Everyday practices and classroom learning (2nd ed.).
Maidenhead; New York: Open University Press.
Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.).
Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.
Rozema, R., & Webb, A. (2008). Literature and the web: Reading and responding with new technologies.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Online Articles and Web Resources

Center for Social Media, School of Communication, American University. (2008). Code of Best Practices in
Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Retrieved September 6, 2009, from
Educause Learning Initiative. ELI 7 Things You Should Know - 52 Resources:
National Council of Teachers of English. (2008, November). NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum
and Assessment. Retrieved December 21, 2008, from
National Council of Teachers of English. (2007). 21st Century Literacies: A Policy Research Brief Produced by
the National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved December 21, 2008,
Media Education Lab.
Teachers Teaching Teachers Webcast.
Teaching Writing Using Blogs, Wikis…
Technology Initiative - National Writing Project.
Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center Collective. (2005). “why teach digital writing?”
Retrieved September 7, 2009, from

Edubloggers to Follow
• Paul Allison, “New Journalism”:
• Troy Hicks, “Digital Writing, Digital Teaching”:
• Bud Hunt, “Bud the Teacher”:
• Will Richardson, “Weblogg-ed”:
• Robert Rozema, “Secondary Worlds”:
• Joyce Valenza, “NeverEndingSearch”:
• NCTE Inbox Blog:

Social Networks to Join

• Classroom 2.0:
• The Future of Education:
• The Digital Writing Workshop:
• English Companion:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.