Crafting Digital Writing

Crafting Digital Writing
Crafting Digital Writing

So pleased to announce that Crafting Digital Writing: Composing Texts Across Media and Genres was officially released today by Heinemann. Here is the text from the back cover:

“We have an opportunity to help this generation define itself on its own terms. The question is no longer whether or not we should use technology to teach writing; instead we must focus on the many ways that we can use technology to teach writing.”
—Troy Hicks

Written for teachers of writing by a teacher of writing, Crafting Digital Writing is both an introduction for teachers new to digital writing and a menu of ideas for those who are tech-savvy. Troy Hicks explores the questions of how to teach digital writing by examining author’s craft, demonstrating how intentional thinking about author’s craft in digital texts engages students in writing that is grounded in their digital lives.

Troy draws on his experience as a teacher, professor, and National Writing Project site director to show how the heart of digital composition is strong writing, whether it results in a presentation, a paper, or a video. Throughout the book, Troy offers:

  • in-depth guidance for helping students to compose web texts (such as blogs and wikis), presentations, audio, video, and social media
  • mentor texts that give you a snapshot into what professionals and students are doing right now to craft digital writing
  • suggestions for using each type of digital text to address the narrative, informational, and argument text types identified in the Common Core State Standards
  • a wealth of student-composed web texts for each digital media covered, along with links to them on the web
  • technology tips and connections, as well as numerous tools for creating a digital writing assignment.

Pick up (or download) your copy of Crafting Digital Writing and begin preparing your students for the real-world writing expectations that await them in the 21st century.

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9 thoughts on “Crafting Digital Writing”

  1. I’ve been unable to locate an e-version of your new book. Looked on Heinemann’s website and looked at — seems odd that a book about digital writing wouldn’t be in an ebook format. Are there plans to have one available later? Or is it available now and I just am unable to find it? Thanks a bunch!

  2. What are the best ways to teach using technology? Is technology one of the many aspects of education that is particular given each student’s situation? I have very little experience as I am but a “teacher-in-progress,” but I feel like technology isn’t and shouldn’t be REQUIRED, but instead a nice outlet for students who choose that option.

  3. Thanks, Tyler, for asking such an important question about the educational context that each student finds him or herself in these days. I will address that one first, then your other question about the best ways to teach using technology.

    With the context question, it is true that not all schools have the access to the internet or equipment and that some children come from homes that choose not to use technology or also have limited access. In many ways, it is difficult to argue with the second part of this, because — for whatever circumstances exist — parents do have the right to raise their children without technology if they choose.

    However, I think that for schools this is no longer a choice, nor has it been for the past 20 years or so. While schools struggle to make budgets meet, they have an obligation to prepare our children for citizenship and the world beyond school. Being a citizen and participating in the world involves ethical, responsible, and productive technology use.

    In terms of the “best” ways to teach with technology, that too depends on context. Yet, I would hold on to the core principle that the “best” way to teach any student is for a teacher to thoroughly understand his/her content area and standards, to know his/her students and their learning styles at a personal and class-level, and to make use of technology in ways that support deep inquiry and learning, not just rote practice or memorization. This, too, will differ for each teacher in each classroom, and there are many talented, thoughtful educational technology leaders that are showing us concrete examples of how to do this work. If you need some more examples, please let me know.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful questions and good luck on your journey toward becoming a teacher!

  4. As a future teacher, I’ve noticed that in the majority of my education courses there is a focus on the importance of incorporating technology into the classroom. Although I am still very young and comfortable with technology, I sometimes feel like my students know more about technology than I do. What are some ways that educators can stay up to date with the advancing technological world and in turn use this to our advantage in our classrooms?

  5. Thanks for your question, Lauren. It is one that even very experienced teachers ask as well… we all have trouble keeping up with changes in technology!

    I have a few resources I would suggest. First, my colleague Kristen Turner and I just wrote an article for English Journal with lots of resources in it, including links to blogs and other websites that many teachers find useful. It’s called “No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait” and NCTE has made it available for free.

    Also, there are many content curation sites where teachers are posting ideas. From Pinterest to to Storify to Learnist, you should be able to find some teachers sharing their ideas in those social spaces.

    Finally, I would encourage you to reach out on Twitter and join in some of the regular educational chats that happen using hashtags. Here is Jerry Blumengarten’s starting page for educational uses of Twitter — it’s a great place to start.

    Thanks again for your question and best of luck as you continue your journey as a teacher!

  6. How would you say that this book is different from your 2009 title? I’m building a new course for teachers seeking their master’s degree….I loved your 1st book and didn’t know how you viewed them side by side.


  7. Thanks, Marsha, for contacting me and for your kind words about my book.

    I would say that Crafting Digital Writing extends many of the same themes as Digital Writing Workshop, but instead of thinking about the broad instructional principles that go into setting up a class and getting students prepared to write in digital spaces, CDW looks much more closely at the different media and all the possibilities. Consider it, if you will, more of a genre study whereas DWW was an overview of the whole curriculum and instruction.

    Does that make sense? Please feel free to ask other questions… I am curious to hear your thoughts about both books and how you are using them with teachers.


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