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.