Table of Contents

Unit 2: Planning Lessons for Informational and Argument Writing

2.3 Writing with Digital Tools

CCR Writing Anchor Standard 6 urges teachers and students to “use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others” (CCR Anchor Standards for Writing, 2010).

Research shows that digital technology enhances writing in several ways. K-12 students who write with computers produce compositions of greater length and higher quality and are more engaged with and motivated toward writing than their peers."

(Goldberg et. al, 2003)

Furthermore, digital tools are also changing writing itself. They are creating new writing genres that use media and multimedia. These “digital genres” include podcasts, PowerPoint presentations, digital essays, Glogsters, Web sites, blog forums, Animotos, and more.

Time to Try

Look again at the teachers' Lesson Planning Templates you examined in section 2.1.3. This time, reread a few and look for how the teachers draw on digital texts for research and reading, or how they use digital tools to create a digital genre.

You will find that almost every teacher uses digital texts for reading and research:  online magazines and news sites, YouTube videos, and Web sites that honor historical figures.
You will also find that some are teaching their students to write both print and digital genres: 

  • Lorena Sanchez taught her bilingual students to transform written reports about a historical upstander into PowerPoint presentations that they published on the class Wikipage.
  • Amanda von Kleist taught her students with disabilities to compose a Glogster poster — a virtual informational report — about the traits and actions of the upstander that was the subject of their research.
  • Liz Harrington taught her students to transform their print editorials about how their middle school would benefit from more upstanders into editorial podcasts and “Be an Upstander” public service announcements.