While there are still many obstacles facing teachers in implementing technology, teachers play a critical role in driving the use of technology to teach writing, says a recent report by the National Writing Project (NWP) and the College Board.
Much to think about here and, at least from my point of view, well worth reading. Does the writing technology somehow impact the written end product?
However, in phrasing the question that way, I'm aware that it assumes that there is an implied "yes/no" response assumption.
The author is sophisticated enough to provide thought-provoking contemplations on "both sides" of the question.
The article makes it fairly clear that whether or not, the written product articulates great ideas regarding the "universal truths," the opinions on the question of their writing "tools," whether opined by the likes of Plato, Milton, Mark Twain, or David McCullough existed within a time and place that would never have a universal baseline. What came before Plato in terms of story creation and recording influenced the impact of the technology shift. What came after Plato, was not changing storytelling from oral to written, but rather from written after the shift Plato was concerned about to written one way to written another way. The concerns that Plato had were probably legitimate while written stories were a completely new phenomenon. But, they would eventually become accepted and adapted to by those who loved stories. Addressing initial concerns and discovering unrealized advantages of the new put written stories in a different place than they were when Plato offered his concerns.
Remember the switch from slide rules to calculators? The concern was whether we'd no longer be able to think if a machine did the thinking for us? But, today those who employ math in their required skill set seem to be doing math accurately, perhaps more accurately and definitely more quickly than in the slide rule days. And, because of those advantages, we all are benefitting from math in ways that were not yet conceived of during the initial transition phase from slide rules to calculators.
"New" takes time to find itself. "New" almost always meets resistance from those who "got the job done just fine" with a sliderule or a blackboard or a hand saw or a horse or a ... well, you get the idea.
But, this is not to say that "New" by definition is superior or that "New" does not bring its own unprecedented downsides.
But the transition period between technologies is always "rocky." It may not be the best time to assume that the potential up and downsides of the new are well enough understood or that the up and downsides of the old may not not fade more quickly than is speculated; even as speculated by the greatest thinkers of the time.
View the Common Core State Standards in one convenient FREE app! A great reference for students, parents, and teachers to easily read and understand the core standards. Quickly find standards by subject, grade, and subject category (domain/cluster). This app includes Math standards K-12 and Language Arts standards K-12. Math standards include both traditional and integrated pathways (as outlined in Appendix A of the common core) and synthesizes Language Arts standards with the Corresponding College and Career Readiness Standards (CCR's).
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"Students communicate by writing nearly every day. But in an increasingly visual world, they also must learn to express themselves through imagery. With digital cameras and online image collection and manipulation tools, students can open the door to a whole new world of storytelling."
"Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project, said, "The experience of these nine teachers reminds us of the central role they play in true education reform. It's teachers who are the technology drivers, seeking out digital tools, learning them, testing them and finally implementing them successfully in their classrooms. With the benefit of professional development from organizations like the National Writing Project, these pioneers are preparing their students for the digital world."
"The teachers featured in the report found that the use of such Web 2.0 tools as blogs, podcasts, wikis, and comics-creating software has heightened students' engagement and enhanced their writing and thinking skills—in all grade levels and across all subjects. Even as these teachers' students gain the skills to live and work in the 21st-century setting, too many times, the report found, their classrooms look like 20th-century models."
"One of the first things about the iPad that caught people’s attention was the touch screen, and it goes without saying that some of the first apps to start taking advantage of that touch screen were handwriting/note taking apps. Apps that let you write, draw, sketch—-and sometimes type–notes on your iPad. Something that combined technology with the age-old practice of scribbling notes on paper."
I can’t even begin to quantify how many times I have been blessed with the challenge of working with a reluctant writer. During 14 years in the Language Arts classroom, I have heard “I hate writing” a thousand times. Sure, everybody loves those students who scan the writing prompt a couple of times just before their minds and hearts connect with the pens and bleed ink onto the paper in an effortless representation of creativity and mastery of rhetorical strategies. Taking natural writers to the next level is also a daunting task, but I will forever be grateful for those who stare at the paper with confusion and anxiety while hoping words will magically fill up the empty lines. Their apathy for writing shakes me to the core in such a way that leaves me scratching my hairless head and searching for any angle to prove how essential self-expression is to living. To me, life is writing.
"Hot Apps 4 HOTS (link opens to iTunes) is a free ebook about iOS apps that can be used to help students practice and develop higher order thinking skills. The book takes readers through a series of apps that are aligned to the various parts of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. Examples and suggestions for app use are included in the book. As Hot Apps 4 HOTS is an ibook, it can only be viewed on an iOS device."
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