More Thoughts on the Digital Reading/Writing Workshop

Earlier this month, Kristin Ziemke and I co-authored a blog post in response to Nancie Atwell’s blog post about the role of technology in her classroom. In short, the response to our response has been, well, overwhelming and positive. As so many of us in the world of English language arts prepare to head to DC this week for the NWP Annual Meeting and NCTE annual convention, I wanted to capture just a few of the smart, thoughtful, and creative ideas that our colleagues have shared over the past few weeks. A few other edubloggers have jumped in with their insights:

  • Julie Johnson reminds us how “When using technology in thoughtful and authentic ways, our students are given one more avenue for both consuming and producing text.  In a true digital workshop, students have choice in how they read, respond, and write.  Sometimes they choose traditional tools, at other times they chose digital tools.”
  • Franki Sibberson demonstrates that, in a “workshop of the possible,” digital reading and writing are parallel to print literacies because “The key is that the teaching focuses on the writing, not the tool.”
  • Cathy Mere describes the possibilities of what technology can offer her students including the fact that digital tools are “ONE option of many possibilities,” “A way to connect with other learners,” and “A place for students to have a voice TODAY.”
  • Finally, Jessica Lifshitz rethinks how her students work as readers: “Because now we are not just reading alone in our classroom, now we are reading in a great big world of readers. And it feels so much bigger, and better, than just us.”

I want to thank Matt Renwick and Sara Holbrook for their thoughts as well.

Teacher-Writer Network
Teacher-Writer Network

It is simply amazing to me how powerful teachers’ voices can be when we reach out and share our thinking. I look forward to doing much more of this over the coming week at NWP and NCTE 2014, as well as on our new Teacher-Writer Network page on FB.

Thanks again to all of you for sharing your insights on teaching digital reading and writing. Let’s keep the conversation going.

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One thought on “More Thoughts on the Digital Reading/Writing Workshop”

  1. I’ve just reread both posts referenced in this post and feel like there are two separate conversations going on. It didn’t seem to me that Nancie was negating the potential for technology beyond word processing. She was explaining how kids use the computers in her room (which is definitely in a basic, limited capacity). I’ve had the privilege to spend 4 days at CTL and watch Nancie and her kids. It’s a unique place, brimming with books, paper, enthusiasm, and tradition. It is a tiny school that begins each day with a morning meeting for EVERY member of the K-8 school. Little kids sit on big kids’ laps and the teachers lead everyone in song. The community is so tight-knit and special. As you mention in your post, Nancie has taught us all so much about the reading and writing workshop. She is not, however, a technology expert–she doesn’t type her own emails!

    So, it seems that rather than refuting what Nancie has done in her class/school or her opinions about technology, we should acknowledge how we have taken her version of workshop and expanded it (I am the language arts department chair in a 1:1 iPad and MacBook school, so I’m all about the creative potential and transformative power of the tools). She has never claimed to be a leader in this new digital landscape; she has,however, paved the way for amazing people like you to do that.

    I wonder how Anne, her daughter, has redefined the role of technology at CTL program since joining the team.

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