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The NWP Digital Is website is a collection of ideas, reflections, and stories about what it means to teach writing in our digital, interconnected world.

Although the Internet seems to be free, it actually consumes huge amounts of electricity. According to one source, the carbon footprint of the internet now exceeds that of air travel. Server farms that support the internet need to be powered and cooled--a double whammy, from an energy-use standpoint.

  • KevinHodgson

    I find this topic to be fascinating, particularly since it is something I rarely think about. But with the push into Green Energy, and the emergence of more technology-driven culture, it is worth thinking about.

“Writing today,” say the authors of Because Digital Writing Matters, “is pervasively and generally digital; composed with digital tools; created out of word, image, sound, and motion; circulated in digital environments; and consumed across a wide range of digital platforms.” Many teachers are wondering, however, whether digital writing can align with the ELA strand of the Common Core State Standards, now adopted by 45 states and DC.

  • KevinHodgson

    As our state is one of those now in the midst of a massive shift to the Common Core, this topic and this collection is important to me.

Status updates, tweets, text messages, 4Square checkins—our lives are awash in short form compositions. Are they "completely useless and meaningless," or do they derive their value from the social context within which they live?

  • KevinHodgson

    It's fascinating to think about how the modes and means of communication influence us as writers. Where is the agency, we have to wonder? Is it with us, the writer, or with the tool that shapes our writing?

We have told stories to each other since the dawn of human history. We instinctively organize our thoughts as stories. Well-crafted stories engage us, inform us, inspire us and – long after first hearing them – resonate with us. Stories have always carried messages and meaning for us long before writing, radio, film, television, or the internet helped us tell them.

  • KevinHodgson

    I love how this collection celebrates the art of storytelling, which remains at the heart of the writing and technology that we are moving into.

Watching text in motion is nothing new for readers of all levels. We watch words travel across screens of various shapes and sizes, and we set words in motions as we move throughout our daily lives reading text in various places and contexts.

Twitter. Facebook. MySpace. LinkedIn. Wikispaces. Edublogs. Youtube. Flickr. Many of us in the NWP network maintain profiles across an ever-increasing number of websites, effectively distributing our identities into discrete, albeit linked, chunks.

  • KevinHodgson

    The topic of identity, and how we represent ourselves (and how our students represent themselves), gets short thrift a lot, I think, but we need to find a way to teach our young people about this. It's complex, for sure, but important.

Assessment of multimedia composing is a very young discipline. Will our learning expectations and criteria for composing and evaluating paper essays suffice? Will we need to refashion those expectations and criteria for the new writing?

  • KevinHodgson

    This issue of assessment of digital composition is a must-read, and one that we have to continue to pursue. How do we evaluate the work of our students in a multi-media landscape? We can't just get sucked in by the flash; we need to look to the substance.

This collection highlights three of the many excellent resources tagged voice and audience on the Digital Is website. Important elements of the digital classroom—inquiry, emerging experts, and a pedagogy of collegiality—are clearly themes in the work of these classrooms.

  • KevinHodgson

    I love the focus on voice here, and how technology can expand our definition of the writer's voice in many medium.

In Confronting the Challenge of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, Jenkins, et al. (2007) characterize today's society as one based on participation, using the term "participatory culture" to describe how we are no longer pure consumers of media, but producers, sharers, and collaborators. This collection looks at the works of digital writing in that light.

  • KevinHodgson

    When the world is the potential audience, the chance to make your voice heard and create an impact on the world is an important endeavor. This collection reminds us of that potential.

Facebook, texting, YouTube, Twitter: these are just a few of the ways youth are communicating with each other and the larger society today. But what are they saying?

  • KevinHodgson

    What are they saying? At the very least, we need to be paying attention, and trying to understand the various communication strands the run through the lives of young people.

"At its core, connective writing is the idea that digital writers using digital writing tools create an inherently different kind of writing. This collection is an attempt to unpack the idea of connective writing, show what it might look like in practice, and explore whether, in fact, it is new and different, or an extension of what's come before."

  • KevinHodgson

    I remember reading about "connected writing" from Will Richardson, and it still seems like a valid and important concept. How and what I write here affects what you read and how you write there, and our texts can easily become connected through comments, links, etc. It's a powerful idea.