One of the many services that Salem State’s Writing Intensive Curriculum (WIC) program offers to the university community is the hosting of regular brown bag sessions in which faculty and graduate students from across the disciplines come together in the WIC room to host a facilitated discussion around some topic related to interdisciplinary writing. This past week I had the fun and exciting opportunity to facilitate one of these brown bags on a subject near and dear to my heart: the use of digital activities to teach writing in the classroom! A regular feature on my blog, my passion for building digital literacies in my students is no secret (see my post on digital vocabulary building tools, or this one on digital writing assignment ideas, or even this post defending the academic value of digital writing. I could go on, but I have to stop myself somewhere). Given my preexisting enthusiasm for the topic, the preparation for this brown bag was 100% unfiltered fun for me.
Once we were all gathered around the WIC conference table, instead of spending too much time on the theoretical defense of digital writing in the classroom, I pointed brown bag participants to my article in the most recent WIC Newsletter (where I address this in more depth) and moved us right on to the practical portion of the discussion. Let me just say that, when you get a group of experienced, dedicated, and smart educators in a room to discuss creative and practical ways to bring digital writing into their classrooms, very good things happen.
The conversation that followed was generative and full of insight as professors shared their experiences, concerns, struggles, and successes with using different digital activities and tools in their lessons. As educators, but also lifelong students ourselves, we were able to get specific in our exploration of the possibilities surrounding classroom blogs, wikis, Pinterest word walls, and Storify.
The discussions held during this brown bag and the specific tools explored will be the basis for my next blog series. Over the next 4 posts, I will be addressing each of the individual tools featured in our time together last week, spending some time on the individual affordances of each tool as well as some potential assignments to take advantage of what each tool has to offer. As always when it comes to thinking and writing on digital literacies, I can’t wait to get started!