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Establish and grow your relationship with NWP Digital Is

Happy Wednesday!

Thank you so much for jumping in and sharing a bit about yourself as we get this study group started. Lots of wonderful ideas, resources and conversations already! If you haven't jumped in to the Introductions yet, please take a moment to do so. 

If you have done this already and are ready to move on, we'd like to introduce you to a new forum and the main "text" of this study group, NWP Digital Is.

As an emerging knowledge-base created and curated by its community of members, Digital Is gathers resources, collections, reflections, and stories about what it means to teach writing in our digital, interconnected world. (learn more here)

We invite you all to spend some time within NWP Digital Is this week whether this site is brand new to you or if you have some familiarity with it. As Katherine Frank wrote on March 1st as she "sprung" into a blog-post-a-day in March at this website:

Connecting with DI is like fostering a relationship and depending on the contact--frequency, duration, depth, etc.--the relationship changes.  Each time I engage with the site, I "know" it in a new way, and through this blogging project, I want to think more about this process of "knowing" and knowledge-building and how it might contribute to my own growth as a learner-teacher-scholar as well as how it might be used to grow the site.

We invite you to establish and/or grow your relationship too and consider how it might contribute to your own growth as a learner-teacher-scholar. One of the ways we have found that supports a fresh creative approach to the site is through a game-ie. Digital Is Bingo! This version of DI Bingo is built off different 21st century traits and habits of mind collected in the book Because Digital Writing Matters.

The tasks we then are suggesting include:

  1. Create an account in Digital Is -- ie. Join/Login and create your profile.
  2. Explore using the Bingo chart and Traits list from Digital Is Bingo.
  3. In Digital is, bookmark at least three resources you find interesting.
    • Note that the bookmark feature is available at the right and bottom of all resources/collections/blogs.
    • You can find your list of bookmarks at your Member Home.
    • View screencast to see how this works.
  4. Post a link to your bookmarks here at P2PU and briefly discuss what you found.
  5. After doing this exploration, please also share here at P2PU some initial thoughts about your emerging relationship to Digital Is as well as any questions/concerns raised during this process of connecting and exploring.


Don’t forget to shout out when you “win” too! smiley

-- Christina, Katherine and Troy

Task Discussion

  • Ben   March 11, 2012, 7:46 p.m.

    I haven't figured out how to post my bookmarks but I'm going to comment on a couple.  I watched three short videos from the resource "Digital Is...Tinkering."  They all emphasize hands-on, mistake-inspired, trial-and-error, throw-the-babies-in the pool instruction.  The good news: this approach works best when the instructor becomes a learner right along with her students (well, maybe not the swimming example).  I subscribe to that notion, to a fault; I think it's important for teachers to know when to stay out of the way.  I know, too, that the students I work with now do not have access to the latest digital toys and tools, at least not in the educational setting.  And so in a paradoxical way, while these tools have a leveling effect in classrooms, they expand the gap between classrooms.  Some of our discussion, about software and sites and devices that I've never heard of, makes me think the divide is growing.

    Another resource I bookmarked was "Rethinking Composition in a Multi-Modal World," a digital story-telling project in which the instructor inquired about how digital tools influenced her teaching and her students' response to assignments.  She considered the voice-over as a narrative essay, and decisions about thesis, visual and verbal support, intro and conclusion, as steps in the composition process.  She wrote,"...the digital stories can stand alone as well-crafted written pieces that meet both of the original composition assignments' academic goals and standards.  There is evidence of an understanding of thesis and organized support, analytic thinking, audience and voice."  These were ninth graders, and it occurred to me that sooner or later those students are going to have to sit down and write a five-paragraph essay in a timed environment to prove their writing proficiency and then their digital stories won't matter very much.  I loved the confidence and sense of accomplishment the students felt (I especially liked one young man who said in his reflective essay that the assignment gave him a chance to think about his writing and he found it to be very good).  Maybe that confidence will lead to versatility and they'll be able to churn out the five paragraphs on demand but that isn't certain.  We need assessment as creative as the work our students do.

  • Christina Cantrill   March 10, 2012, 1:14 p.m.

    I thought I might jump in and try my hand at bingo too. Ironically, although I spend much of my day working on and in Digital Is, I don't often stop and give myself time to dig in. So this morning I wanted to do that a bit, so I started with the word "Dialogue" which is somewhat in the middle of the Bingo chart, and see where that would lead me.

    Searching for "Dialogue" I found a bunch of things. I eventually landed here: Civic Deliberation and Social Action, a collection by Anne Herrington and Charlie Moran. They write:

    The teachers in this collection of curriculum units teach an alternative rhetoric of civic deliberation for thoughtful social action. They believe that their students can engage in rational, civic discourse around important issues and can begin to take action to affect the changes that they see need to be made in our society and culture.

    If I were really playing bingo, this collection would also pick up the connected square around "Social Justice." Thinking specifically about social justice, I notice Katie McKay's collection here called Lights, Camera, Social Action! Such a deep and beautiful resource as Katie and her students confront, uncover, discuss and respond to discrimination on macro and micro levels. 

    At times, the prejudiced words and gestures that thrive outside a school's walls seeped into our learning environment and leaked out of the lips of students. As if such words weren’t degrading enough, our school had been, for the first time in its 70 years, branded with the scarlet letters “AU”: Academically Unacceptable. I begged for a few minutes a day to address the social climate that was infringing upon our learning environment. But, my schedule was not my own. “There is no time to waste,” I was told.

    Moving onto the word "Collaborative" I am brought to On Becoming Change Writers. This is a collaborative work in many ways emerging from the urgency and questions of two educators about how to engage young learners in difficult topics such as hatred and genocide and what to do and how to act in the face of them. This is a collaboratively crafted resource that represents what seems to be a deeply collaborative project overall.

    In this video from the Change Writers resource, Gail talks about "students doing history" through the creation of content that others can use. The act of creation here is the doing of the history, and she talks about this being a "huge shift" in thinking that, in this case, the technology helped to faciltiate too.

    Back to Bingo ahead, I'm going to use this to fill in my "Compose" block. So that's 4 of 5. "Fair Use" is the last one I need here. I will be back to finish in a bit!

  • Jeremy Hyler   March 9, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

    I have had the privilage of not only creating my own Digital Is resource, but creating a resource with others.  I feel not only humbled, but honored that I have been looked upon as a worthy person to put resources on the site.  There are a multitude of resources that I could list that are helpful on this website.

    I love being able to share this website with teachers and professionals outside of the writing project.  They are amazed at what is availble to them.

  • Christina Cantrill   March 10, 2012, 1:26 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jeremy Hyler   March 9, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

    We are thrilled that you contributed, and continue to contribute, to Digital Is. It's been great to see how you started with the one project on Motivating Boy Writers, and then have expanded your work through blog posts on the topic of cell phones in the classroom, etc. Thank you for all your wonderful contributions.

    It would be great to know what your colleagues find useful in the website btw. I would also offer, since this is an open site, that you could invite them to participate too if that would be of interest. Since the site is open -- blogs and discussions are available to anyone who joins. And if one would like to add a resource that speaks to the underlying inquiries of this website they may (read more about resource creation here).

  • Tellio   March 9, 2012, 6:14 p.m.

    "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth learning can be taught." -- Oscar Wilde


    Here is a version of my response to the "Digital IS Bingo Card" using curation software, Themeefy.

    Here is a screencast version with a narrative:

    I love the intersection of text and video and voice--YouTube and screencasting software and text is compelling learning for me. Each new discovery has been a thrill that only makes me want to know more. For example...

    I had made a promise to myself this semester to get movin' with mobile with my students.  I have published all of our class assignments and agendas onto Twitter with my class hashtag, #e100wku.  It did not feel like it was  enough.  And I knew it wasn't after I read Jeremy Hyler's "Texting in Class: The Pros and Cons of Celly"

     Now I know that next week when I have paper conferences with my 'freshfolk' composition students that I will be connecting to them all with Celly.  I had signed up for Celly quite a while ago, but ran into trouble with short codes and T-mobile...well I got that sorted.  No excuses now.  This is a personal failing of my own.  I have no trouble finding digital writing tools, but it takes me time and experimentation to integrate the good ones.  Sometimes I just have to see what someone else has done in order to get the inspiration, practical know-how, and most importantly the courage to push into the zone of proximal whatsis that Vygotsky rattled on about.

    Of course, none of this would have happened had I not played the Digital IS Bingo game.  Thanks to Troy Hicks for this.  This is just a mild rebuke to me for not having used more games in my class work.  Now I have my antennae out for ways to incorporate apps, qr codes, and other toys into my online and face-to-face classes.  It was also the inspiraton to use Themeefy, a curation and small scale publishing platform that I have been using all school year and that I used to explore the Bingo Matrix.

    The video keynote by John Seely Brown was one of those theory-based talks that can be the thrust engine for a lifetime of work. Brown's straightforward presentation using old school tools (lecture, powerpoint) still manages to get across the message:  we are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.  Our institutions and our social rules are epitomized by change.  In fact that is their only constant.  Yet our schools at almost every level seem to be enmeshed in some bizzaro Oz that denies the obvious--the Wizard has no clothes.  Yeah, that is shocking in black and white or color, but as Brown argues our skills might just have a half-life of five years.  This video is a lodestone attracting and evoking lots of ideas for learning in general (the mob does indeed rule) and pedagogy (digital literacy and inquiry especially) in particular.  I would love to watch this with folks on a Google Hangout one night and see what comes of the conversation. 

    Digital IS with its resources, collections, discussions and blogs has been a real can of worms, really healthy, interesting thought-invoking worms.  As my contemporary and songwriter Mojo Nixon once said to me, "Keep on!" And so I will as long as you all are with me.





  • Troy Hicks   March 10, 2012, 12:34 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 9, 2012, 6:14 p.m.

    Thank you, Terry, for creating this curated collection of Digital Is content using Themeefy. This is a new tool for me, and I appreciate how you talked through your thinking in the screencast. I imagine that this could be a way for students to collect their work, portfolio-like, and then do some reflection at the end of a project, marking period, or school year. 

    As you think about how to reach your students with the I-search paper, I wonder if you might re-brand Macrorie's classic idea as the "iSearch" paper -- helping students use those digital tools for inquiry as well as to discover more about themselves. 

    Thanks for your many comments, questions, and ideas this first week. We will be with you next week, for sure!

  • KevinHodgson   March 9, 2012, 5:44 a.m.

    I am a frequent visitor to the Digital Is site, and I realized as I looked at my bookmarks ( that there is very little rhyme or reason to my wanderings of the site. I have bookmarked some items of interest and pieces that have been created by friends at our writing project site.

    Of all the spaces on Digital Is, the place I most enjoy is the Collection area, though. ( The way folks are curating content, and putting a rhetorical frame around various pieces makes a lot of sense, and I find myself often immersed in this part of Digital Is.

    A few collections I believe may be worth your time:

    I also tried to create these collections into a board on Pinterest, if you are curious. (I am still exploring Pinterest. Not sure what I think quite yet.) My Digital Is board became this odd experience of curating the curated materials that someone else has curated-- a mobius strip of curation.



  • Troy Hicks   March 10, 2012, 9:07 a.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   March 9, 2012, 5:44 a.m.

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for sharing your favorite collections, as well as your found poem! You are a frequent visitor to nearly every website, so far as I can tell! wink

    As you think about using Pinterest as a tool for curation, what do you see as the benefits and constraints?


  • Ben   March 9, 2012, 1:01 a.m.

    I spent a little time at Digital Is a few months ago.  I always look for things -- projects and ideas -- that I can immediately take back to class.  That time I found this great resource about using Google Maps to explore the landscape of a fictional setting, or maybe an actual place where a fiction is set.  It reminded me how much I loved Native Son, by Richard Wright, in part because I knew the street names and things.  That gave me access, made the story a more visceral experience.

    Today I bookmarked "Misunderstood Forms of Artistic Expression," a video in which a young woman reflects on the difference between "wall art" and vandalism.  The narration was articulate, perceptive; she seemed completely engaged with her topic.   The instructor commented in another video about the origins and process.  I was surprised that the student explored her own neighborhood as an assignment for a British Literature class.   I'd love to hear how the instructor made that transition.   

  • Christina Cantrill   March 9, 2012, 2:24 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Ben   March 9, 2012, 1:01 a.m.

    Hi Ben. I think this is the resource you are referring to -- Crafting Stories with Google Earth -- is that right? I love what you said about Native Son and thinking about the elements that stay with you as you read ... and then what's interesting to me too are thinking about the ways that this can be shared. Sound like a fasinating project idea actually.

    I also think this work you bookmarked is fasinating -- Misunderstood Forms ... . I love Jasmine's inquiry question and the work she did around this too. So smart and interesting. Thank you for reminding about it and watching it again it occured to me that the video itself should be shared around further in fact. And then I did that -- ie. I just shared it with the facilitators of an arts and literacy seminar at the Philadelphia Writing Project. I think they would find this really provocative and supportive of their discussions too.

    Appreciate that! :)

    Btw, I was with Danielle when she was putting this resource together and I remember her talking about how this was a british literature class which I also thought was fascinating. I know she uploaded this Model for Movement to share how she was working to build connects with a mentor text to build a problem-solving opportunities/spaces that would build on what students were interested in and brought to the table too. I'm sure she'd love to engage further around it though -- occurs to me that could be a great interview in fact. Hmmm. Maybe this should surface at USN conference too -- what do you think?

    Thanks for sharing ...  lots to think about and be inspired by here!

  • Troy Hicks   March 9, 2012, 12:53 a.m.

    Just a quick technical note here on posting a link to your book marks.

    Don't go into your bookmarks through your dashboard, because you will get a generic link that will look like this:  

    No one can see your bookmarks from that link.

    Instead, when you are in your public profile (for instance, mine is:, click on the link to your bookmarks there (again, for instance, mine is:

    As the week ends, we look forward to seeing what you have found on Digital Is!

  • Christina Cantrill   March 9, 2012, 7:38 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Troy Hicks   March 9, 2012, 12:53 a.m.

    Ah right ... I will update the screencast. Sorry about that!