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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Teaching the New Writing (TNW) is collection of practical how-to essays from 16 teacher authors who have attempted to tackle the emerging challenge of teaching writing in the digital age. This "intersection of technology and writing" is proving to be a challenging task for educators across the country.

The book is organized into three parts mimicking a student's progress through the American school system. The parts are divided as follows: 1. Beginning in Elementary and Middle Schools. 2. Continuing in the Secondary Grades. 3. Bridging to the College Years. Each chapter is further divided to detail a specific example of how technology was integrated in the writing lesson. Some examples include: Collaborative Digital Writing, Digital Writing Books, Be a Blogger, Multimedia Presentations From Yearlong Research and Community Based Culminating Projects, Student Engagement and Multimodality, Collaboration, Schema, and Identity, and Multiple Modes of Production in a College Writing Class.

A common thread throughout the teacher examples is allowing the student to actively engage in authentic projects that can have real world applications. The obvious problem with authentic project based lessons is the fact that these types of lessons don't always align with state mandated assessments. The disconnect is addressed fairly often within the vignettes and it is a problem that most of the teachers acknowledge.Glen Bledsoe writes, "Students usually have a keen ear for conflict in dialog and have little problem reproducing it. Collaborative digital writing projects are also dialog driven much as a script for a play. Unfortunately, the Oregon Department of Education refuses to score papers with more than a few lines of dialog. The reason given is that they believe it isn't possible to determine if a student can write well if she uses dialog too much. I don't agree with that thinking. But I nevertheless encourage students to avoid dialog in the state writing tests" (p, 53).

Essentially, this is an acknowledgement by the teacher that the state test is an assessment that doesn't have real world application, but still needs to be accounted for so the kids can pass. This in a nutshell is one of the main problems with education at the moment.

A common concern among educators is the fact that too much emphasis is put on technology while traditional aspects of literacy are given short shrift. Kevin Hodgson, in his piece on Digital Picture Books writes, "I find it instructive and a bit disheartening, that while many of the students were enthusiastic about the use of technology, only a few believed (30 percent) they had a better understanding of the ways in which books are published. That relatively small number gives me pause and forces me to reflect back on whether too much time is spent on the technology and not enough on the writing and elements of publishing a book" (p. 68).

This is not a deal breaker in my opinion. In fact, I see it as a good educator doing what they are supposed to do, reflecting upon the outcomes of the lesson in an attempt to make it better the next time around. That's what co-construction of knowledge is all about. Both the teacher and the student learn during the transformative process. In the end, it's books like this that are going to allow that process to take place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book. Each chapter presented practical ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, specially student use. The authors lay out in detail specific lessons that use technology. Some include student blogging, creating online picture books, collaborative writing pieces, and senior portfolios and podcasts. Being a teacher, I appreciated that each lesson explained in the book what the roles of the teacher and students are, how they relate to the standards and how to assess. Each chapter included a sample rubric that is specific for each technology project. The activities range from elementary to high school level but each could be adapted for different levels. If you are looking for ways to incorporate technology, I recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was very refreshing. It covered many great lessons that use all of the new technology we have around us. I read this book for an assignment in an education class for college, and was impressed. The public school curriculum would benefit greatly if teachers took tips from this book, and made learning more interesting and fun for their students.
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on November 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
This text provides educators with practical ideas for incorporating technology into writing instruction and assessment at the primary, secondary, and college level. The first chapter provides readers with an introduction to writing instruction and assessment. In addition, it challenges teachers to utilize new technologies and critical literacies to enhance writing instruction and assessment in order to meet the new demands our complex and ever-changing world. Each chapter that follows targets a specific strategy for incorporating technology and critical literacy into classroom writing projects. The best part is that these specific strategies have been successfully implemented into real classrooms by real teachers! Furthermore, each chapter includes the instructional outcomes, related standards, sequence of activities, and assessment tools, as well as student and teacher reflections for each strategy. Some of the strategies include the digital writing workshop, collaborative digital writing, digital picture books, blogging, poetry videos, and podcasting to enhance oral language and presentation skills. It is clear that all of the strategies enhanced both teaching and learning within the classroom. However, as with all good teaching and learning experiences, incorporating technology and critical literacy into the classroom requires resources, time, and energy. I think that this text made it clear to readers that no strategy was implemented without access to the necessary technologies, as well as careful thought and planning. As a fourth grade teacher, I would highly recommend this text to educators. The strategies discussed can be integrated into all content areas and modified to meet the needs of students at any grade level.
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on October 6, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The authors of this book told their real experiences with including digital literacy in their composition classes. The writers mentioned names of specific software programs, and they described some of the student projects in detail.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
On page 69, Kevin Hodgson, having led a fifth grade class through writing digital picture books, quotes one student: "I think that books in the future will have people popping out of the pages and talking, like a miniplay. In the future, you will not even have to read the books--just listen to them." This quote prompts two questions. First, since when do fifth graders understand their own best interests?

Second, since when do we think education should be easy? I encounter this issue time and again throughout this book: using computers to teach multimedia composition will help students grasp writing by making it easier. But looking back on my own education, I retained very little that came easily. As a teacher, I see the difference in my students between work that comes with little effort and work that requires sweat.

Some of this book's essays support that belief. For instance, Glen L. Bledsoe's story of writing and recording an audio play collaboratively with his fourth graders persuades me that publically showing the work's steps makes students' own expectations more transparent. Jeffrey Schwartz cogently describes how video production makes poetry more engaging and humane for high school students. I might incorporate some of these techniques.

But, just for a few counter-examples, teaching writing through blogging inculcates a rhetoric of small vocabularies, short attention spans, and little reading. Moreover, I fear that letting them "research" with RSS feeds and a Google blogsearch rewards a passive attitude that information should come to students, while writing doesn't require students to lift their butts from their chairs. This approach is, at best, incomplete and lethargic.

This book has many excellent approaches and techniques. I agree that electronic literacy forms education's new, uncharted frontier. But for each essay that details useful, considered writing pedagogy for the digital age, one more rewards passivity from students and teachers alike. Maybe I'm old school, but I think education should be at least slightly difficult. Only that which requires effort really improves the student.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The product was delivered quickly and in very pristine condition, like promised. Highly recommend the seller.
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