Out Like a Lamb, On to the Showers

Well, March certainly treated me like a lion would — full of travel, committee obligations, teaching, and lots of writing for some upcoming chapters — and I’m happy to say that this final weekend was much more lamb-like. That said, tomorrow I jump into the April showers, and when it rains it pours. Here are a few things on my radar for this next month:

Heinemann, 2013

Perhaps the best news is that my new book, Crafting Digital WritingComposing Texts Across Media and Genres, hits the shelves at the end of April, just around time for IRA if all goes well.  I have been able to give some talks on the book already, including my closing keynote at the Michigan Reading Association pre-conference earlier this month. Thanks to everyone for your kind words about its upcoming release, and I hope that it lives up to your expectations.

Also, I was invited to serve on an NCTE task force that has been charged with the assignment of delivering a white paper early in April that will respond to SBAC and PARCC’s potential use of computerized scoring for the writing portion of their Common Core assessments. At this point, there are many hundreds of writing teachers around the country who are up in arms about this, and probably your best place to take immediate action would be to sign the “Professionals Against Machine Scoring Of Student Essays In High-Stakes Assessment” petition. I have avoided doing so thus far simply because of my position on this task force, but would encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already.

Finally, I have been working with some colleagues from CMU to develop a proposal for the Gates Foundation “Literacy Courseware Challenge.”  Part of the application process was to develop a brief video outlining your product. With the help of an amazing team of colleagues at CMU, we are able to pull together the grant proposal and this brief video for our “minimum viable product” (or, perhaps more commonly, a “proof of concept”) grant for Project WRITE. Even if we are not awarded the grant, my hope is that we have a good idea that we could pursue as a team at CMU. Please let me know what you think.

Project WRITE from Media Production on Vimeo.

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Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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