Argument in the Real World (Book Companion Page)

Argument in the Real World Cover

Resources from our Heinemann book, Argument in the Real World (2017)

NOTE: This page includes links from an archived version of our original Wikispace, which went offline in 2018. To that end, some of the links may be broken. If you find one, please contact me.

Also, connect with us on Twitter @teachKHT and @hickstro

News from/about the book:

Chapter 1: The Nature of Argument in a Digital World

What is Argument in a Digital World?

We read arguments every day. We are inundated by information – and opinions and misinformation – on our devices, and our students are facing the same challenges. Status updates. Hashtags. Blogs. Infographics. Web searches. Any text that we encounter is, at some level, presenting us with an argument. Hyperlinks and multimodal texts present readers and writers with new challenges and possibilities. Our “inquiry cube” represents the knowledge that digital readers and writers need in order to successfully consume and create argumentative texts in a digital world.

Links to blogs, readings, and other resources mentioned in Chapter 1

Additional Resources


Chapter 2: Analyzing Arguments that are Born Digital

Thinking about Hyperlinks (pp. 19-23)

As you explore the three versions of the text, consider the following:

  • Where do each of the links lead?
  • How do you think the writer chose those links?
  • Considering the rhetorical situation, why do you think that the writer chose the links? What goal is he/she trying to accomplish by using the links?
  • For you, as a reader, are the links effective? Do they work well with the claim being made? Why or why not?
  • How does the argument change based on the link?

Hyperlink Exercise for School Lunch shown on page 21.
Want to explore hyperlinking more?

Thinking About Types of Evidence (pp. 25-41)

Types of Evidence (pp. 30-31)

To engage students in thinking about these questions, we suggest introducing the briefly to some of the types of evidence typically associated with debate: scientific law, statistical data, expert opinion, opinion of noted individuals, and anecdotal evidence.

Thinking about Graphic Design based on Robin Williams’ Non-Designers Design Book (p. 40)

Links to articles, resources, and other materials mentioned in Chapter 2:


Chapter 3: The Moves of Argument in Web-based Text

In this chapter we deconstruct the characteristics of blog posts.

  • What does this type of digital argument look like in practice?
  • What constitutes a claim, evidence, warrant, and attention to rebuttal in this form of argument?

What is a blog?

Links to articles and resources mentioned in Chapter 3:


Chapter 4: The Moves of Argument in Infographics

  • What does this type of digital argument look like in practice?
  • What constitutes a claim, evidence, warrant, and attention to rebuttal in this form of argument?

What is an Infographic?

  • Infographics have become an increasingly popular means of expressing information and making arguments.
  • Infographics are a steady part of the content readers consume online.
  • Understanding the design features of infographics can help students to read deeply and uncover bias.
  • In addition, because infographics present data—numerical, written, and visual—they can be a powerful medium for making arguments, and we think they are a mode worth teaching.
  • Downloadable What is an Infographic?

What are the Characteristics and Content of an Infographic?

At their core, infographics are a combination of words, numbers, and visual elements. Yet this description oversimplifies the way that writers think about composing this type of digital text. In reviewing a number of examples as well as articles about what constitutes effective infographics, a few key themes stood out to us.

Taking it to the Classroom: Infographics

As always, teaching digital genres and modes is not about tools. We do not want students simply to read and write infographics; rather, we want them to read and write the arguments that infographics present to the world. Because infographics require students to do content-rich research and to take a position on an issue, they are well-suited for interdisciplinary inquiry.

Resources from the Chapter

Additional Resources


Chapter 5: The Moves of Argument in Video

  • What does this type of digital argument look like in practice?
  • What constitutes a claim, evidence, warrant, and attention to rebuttal in this form of argument?

Craft Elements in Video

  • Camera angle
  • Cuts/transitions
  • Focus (near, mid, far)
  • Framing
  • Gaze
  • Establishing shot
  • Pan and zoom
  • Voice-over
  • Interview
  • Archivan footage
  • Resconstruction/reenactment
  • Montage

Other alternatives for having students create argumentative videos include:

  • Invite students to analyze existing arguments using a video annotation tool such as VialoguesVoicethread or Ponder to describe what they have created and/or ask questions of their viewers.
  • Similarly, once students create their own videos, have them create a “director’s cut” using screencasting tools such as JingScreencast-O-Matic, or Screencastify, documenting the choices that they have made.
  • Alternatively, if the video is designed to be an interactive, quiz-like experience, students could use a tool such as PlayPosit to ask their viewers a variety of questions in true/false, multiple choice, or short answer format.

Resources from the chapter


Chapter 6: The Moves of Argument in Social Media

Developing Arguments via Social Media

To build students’ mindfulness in social media spaces, we first need to help them see their participation in those networks as real reading and writing. The following activity, helps students to think about social media as a reading and writing space.

Fact Checking Sites

Resources from the Chapter

Second version of the poster, courtesy of Heinemann

Second version of the poster, courtesy of Heinemann

Thinking about Conversation on Social Media

Resources Related to Fake News

Browser Extensions for Mindfully Reading in Relation to Fake News

Additional Resources


Chapter 7: Coaching Students’ Work with Digital Arguments

Rape PSA from Goblin Jones on Vimeo.

Sample Checklist for Assessment of Knowledge of Form (Blog Post)


A Favorite Tech Tool for Teaching

Both screencasting and screencapture give teachers and students the opportunity to move beyond simply documenting declarative knowledge about form and substance. To help students to create their own screencaptures and screencasts, reflecting on their work more deeply, consider the following prompts:

  • As a reader, what worked well for you in this digital argument? What did the author accomplish through the use of text, images, sounds, and other media? Where did you struggle to make meaning from this text? Ultimately, do you agree with the claim?
  • As a writer, discuss the ways in which you composed your digital argument? What is your overall claim, and what kinds of evidence did you use to support it? In what ways did you blend text, images, sounds, and other media in a logical, rhetorically sophisticated manner?
  • As a reader, how did the use of technology produce a desired effect?
  • As a writer, how did your use of technology help you to have a desired effect on your readers?

Links to blogs, readings, and other resources mentioned in Chapter 7


Updated: May 31, 2020

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