Incorporating Digital Text into Lessons
By Madeline Miller
October 1, 2018
Fixing What Teachers Do Wrong…
In school, students are not given the right material in order to write an assignment. They are not given specific instructions or examples of what they need to do when writing a paper or any writing assignment. Teachers are vague and give broad guidelines to an assignment. Students need explicit directions in order to complete a task correctly. They can only learn when told how to do tasks, and what to do. Fowler explains, “if the directions are too vague or hardly understandable, the person being instructed tend to do the wrong processes” (2009). This helps to make a point that we do not want our students to do the task wrong, especially for digital writing. Teachers need to begin with thoroughly explaining the directions and model how to do it by showing examples.
My Personal Experience
In the past, I have been given poor directions on how to write. It has has improved over the years, but I did not know how to write until I got to college. I knew the basics, but my sentences were wordy, and had plenty of grammatical errors. As I desire to teach my students how to write, I will use a technique that gives them detailed directions, lots of examples, and space to write or draw. We as a class will create a scrapbook that is only meant for writing. It will consist of writing about a topic I give them; either dealing with learning how to spell to writing sentences using grammatical skills such as commas semicolons, etc. It can be used to explain a topic about another subject. The scrapbook use online, or in hand, will be utilized to show writing progress and for projects, using a smaller, separate book. Projects could be created to show to the class and teacher using different representations of images. If it were an online project, students could use a power point to explain their project having audio text, videos, pictures, drawings and more.
Tying Texts to New Ideas
Hicks quotes Dana Wilber saying, “students are learning to create texts that are very different from the linear, written, paper-based text that schools depend on” (page 30). By using a scrapbook, online or not, it gives permission to the students to think outside of the box in order to get their point across to their audience. Hicks makes a lot of points about giving lee way for them to think freely and let their minds do the work, not the teacher giving them directions how to make it look like the exact way they want it. If the teacher did that, then they would all look the same. It is good to have the same guidelines, but different ideas. Different ideas come from all students because no student is the same compared to others.
Connections to the Future
This connects to my experience with writing because I was either given strict directions or not given enough to complete my digital writing project. In the future, my sole purpose is to have students think outside of the box while having certain requirements and directions to keep everybody on the same page. Also, I will provide them with instructions to discuss the main points of what I am looking for from them. Overall digital writing takes practice, guidance, and good instruction.
-Troy, Hicks. Crafting Digital Writing: Composing Texts across Media and Genres. Heinemann, 2013.