Monday, January 17, 2011

Digital Is...

Karen Chichester, EMWP Fellow 2010

Karen Chichester
Writing has changed. The process hasn’t changed so much, but the types of writing we produce, the methods we use, and how we publish is changing. Our students text, tweet, blog, post status updates, create video/photo stories, and other types of content that they share with an authentic audience over the Internet. They can and do create meaningful artifacts that can be evaluated for depth of understanding of content. All of these are forms of digital writing. All of these forms and tools can be overwhelming. So the National Writing Project has been exploring ways to help teachers use this new writing environment. Their recent book, Because Digital Writing Matters (2010) explores this new type of writing and its implications for education.

At the Annual Meeting NWP rolled out its newest digital writing resource for teachers, Digital Is.... The stated aim of this website is to “collect and create resources, stories and reflections on what it means to write and to teach writing today…the National Writing Project seeks to host a place for educators and writers to stop and reflect on what it all might mean for our work as teachers” (

The site is organized into curated collections of resources and stories broken into three categories; each has at its base an essential question. Art and Craft collections focus on what we are learning about creating digital texts. Teach and Learn collections are focused on what we do in class and what we learn from it. Provocations collections are designed to get us thinking about this new world of digital writing and technology. All members of the Digital Is... community are encouraged to add resources and engage in discussions about those resources.

Digital Is... is designed to grow and change with the interests of the community. It is a work in progress. However, even at this early stage there are many interesting and useful resources and discussions available. I encourage you to join, explore, and participate this new offering from NWP.
On a personal note, I have been involved with this project since August 2010 when a blog post I wrote for the Summer Institute caught Paul Oh’s attention at the NWP office in California. He invited me to become a content creator for Digital Is.... I am honored that my piece, Cross-country Collaboration: It All Started with Twitter, is included in the collection, “'Tis mine and it is likewise yours” curated by Katherine Frank, Southern Colorado Writing Project. Also, thanks to NWP and EMWP I will be one of about 20 educators traveling to San Antonio in January to develop more resources for the site. I look forward to sharing my reflections on this experience in our next newsletter.

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