21st Century Writing Experience

21st Century Writing Experience

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

My own children (16, 18, 20) are writing more and more. Their friends do too... Probably not in the way some of you can imagine... nor think of as writing...but nonetheless they are writing. They are texting... 8000 texts (per month) sent and received... Can you imagine probably 5-10 words on average per text...40,000 -80,000 words per month: A collaborative monthly story of their lives in WRITING!

The National Council of Teachers of English says:

Good writing may be the quintessential 21st century skill. Just as the nature of and expectation for literacy has changed in the past century and a half, so has the nature of writing. Today people write as never before—texting, on blogs, with video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even with traditional pen and paper. People write at home, at work, inside and out of school. Literacy education and literacy practices are in the midst of a profound change.

  • Our schools and our nation need to recognize and validate the many ways we all are writing.
  • We need to develop new models of writing, design a new curriculum supporting those models, and create models for teaching that curriculum.
  • We need to make sure that all students have the opportunity to write and learn in intellectually stimulating classrooms.
  • We need to recognize that out-of-school literacy practices are as critical to students’ development as what occurs in the classroom and take advantage of this to better connect classroom work to real-world situations that students will encounter across a lifetime.

We shouldn't ignore, nor belittle this new kind of writing, but simply acknowledge that writing has changed over the last years. When writing first came off the paper and onto a screen, then moved on to e-mail, texting, blogging, wiki-ing and twittering in 140 characters or less, some predicted that this is the end of writing... young people would never learn the "art of writing" and that the new "kind of writing" is inferior to the "right", real and traditional kind. There is no doubt that the ways and the reasons we write have changed forever. The tools we now can use to write allow us to transmit our writing instantly, "write" more visual, but also to write collaboratively across time and distances. Something that was not possible before.

Collaborative writing experiences have intrigued me for a while now. Ben Hazzard tweeted:

A week ago, Rodd Lucier, Kathy Hibbert, and I put out a call for submissions via twitter for educators to contribute to an e-book about professional development for teachers. These ideas were considered, and sorted into themes that emerged. The final product, which can be viewed below, has been submitted to the Journal of Curriculum & Pedagogy for inclusion in an upcoming edition. Beyond the content of the final product, the process of actively engaging in a collaborative writing experience was a key source of my learning.

Take a look at the final product- Reflecting On and Imagining Professional Development for Teachers in the Digital Age. What Would Yoda Do? A Jedi Approach to Professional Development

The "collaborative writing experience", Ben mentions above and its impact on learning is what fascinates me with such a project. I was already taken by the collaborative presentation slides created by onsite and online participants at Educon 2.2, Philadelphia (January 30th, 2010).

Field Guide For Change Agents

How can we take advantage of these new writing experiences and integrate them in the classroom? How can we use "out of school" technologies our students are familiar with to create a writing experience that motivates, engages, awakens and nurtures a love for writing?