Jan 23 Welcome


Welcome to Writing With Technology poetry night.  I have posted most of my handouts to this blog.  Some are in posts, but most of them are listed under the heading pages.  Look for the prefix Jan 23 for those handouts that might be helpful for this assignment.

Mary Lee Meyer, PLWP Tech Liaison

Resources for Shoot & Write Marathon Aug. 1, 2011

Find some tutorials related to using www.flickr.com at this site: http://plwp.wetpaint.com/page/Super+Technology+Saturdays .  Some of the screen shots are a little out of date, but I think it will give you the idea of how to create an account and upload photos to that account.

I highly recommend you acquire and email address such as yahoo or gmail to use in your online travels.  If you use your school email and you go to a different job you will no longer have access to that school email.  You can fix that problem on sites, but it is just easier to acquire an email address that is more mobil than your school or job related email address.

Happy Shooting.


Blog 4 NWP

In 2002, only two years before I retired after teaching for 20 years, our youngest daughter Vickey, Central Language Arts teacher, encouraged me to apply for Prairie Lands Writing Project Summer Invitational Institute (SI).  Encouraged is a mild term for her tactics in getting me to fill out the application.  I was teaching science, health and web design in a small rural school along with writing grants to acquire technology for the students.  She told me she knew I could write, because of the grant success I was having, but she wanted me to try some creative writing.  Creative writing in science and health I questioned.  At the same time Vickey was working on her sister a K-12 art teacher to apply for the Summer Invitational Institute.  We were both accepted. 

On day two of the SI the PLWP director Jane Frick explained that the anthology published at the end of each SI had previously been printed as a bound book copy.  She said, “I think it could be published on a CD, but I don’t know how.”  This is how my kids get me in trouble.  Stacey, the K-12 art teacher raised her hand and says Mom does.  That was the beginning of my serving as the PLWP technology liaison.  After venturing into the creative writing world using Georgia Heard’s book Writing Toward Home, I read poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldredge.   These are still two of the books I refer to when facilitating a mini technology institute.

In the fall of 2002 I went back to my classroom invigorated to write with my students in science, health, and web design.  In 2003 I was given a class with 75% of the students having IEPs.  The other 25% were seniors who needed a science class to graduate, or had LLS (learned laziness syndrome).  Their first writing assignment was to write a letter to the superintendent with recommendation for treating the trees around the school that were infected with leaf eating caterpillars.  He was in agreement to consult with them about the treatment.  We had collect leaf samples and identified the trees and the infestation.  We had reviewed pesticides and their uses to determine the safest treatment.  This was the first writing they had ever done with an authentic audience.  They went on to write a bio poem about their favorite plant from the 20 plants they had researched and reported on using PowerPoint.  I would have been lost with this group had I not had the experiences from SI.  It was by far the best professional development I have ever experienced in my 20 plus years of teaching.

In the summer of 2004 I retired as planned.  After sharing this with Jane Frick, I was hired as the technology liaison for Prairie Lands Writing Project.  I have been blessed in being chosen to attend the 2006 Because Technology Matters in Chico, CA.  This is where I meet the most amazing group of people.  Kevin Hodgson, Paul Oh, Chris Sloan, Bonnie Kaplan, Christina Cantrill, Troy Hicks, Paul Allison,  Peter Kettle to name a few.  I am in digital contact with these and more individuals almost daily even though we are miles apart.  I know if I ever have a question about writing, technology or photography I can send an email and find the answer.  Bud Hunt, Gail Desler, Lynn Jacobs, Lynette Harris, and Britton Gildersleeve all have a face connected to their name as a result of National Writing Projects annual conference.   I have reconnected and assembled a greater network of wonderful writing teachers across the country.

Since 2006 I have facilitated or co facilitated a mini institute each summer on marrying writing with technology especially in the content areas.  I feel last summer was the best mini institute we have ever done.  See the whole picture at www.missouriwestern.edu/plwp/digi.  January of 2011 Mya Mikkelsen and I lead an online book study of Because Digital Writing Matters. 

We as a community of writers both at PLWP, the Missouri Writing Project Network and National Writing Project continue to grow and find ways to promote student literacy.  National Writing Project expanded my horizons in the world of education in the last seven years more than anything in my teaching career which began in 1967. 

Thank you National Writing Project.

Summary and Reflection Because Digital Writing Matters

PLWP planned a final face to face meeting of their online book study for Because Digital Writing Matters for Feb. 22, 2011.  Troy Hicks, one of the co authors, was to present an all day PD session for the St. Joseph School District and then follow up with a dinner meeting with our online book study group.  Because of a snow storm Troy could not get a flight out of Michigan.

Amazing Northwest Missouri was snow free that day.  Troy did a video presentation with us.  The only disappointing part was we didn’t get our books autographed.

Below is part of the Google docs from Feb. 22, 2011.

Why does digital writing matter?

●     “How much of a battle to write or not to write–no matter what venue we use–isn’t it just a choice of tools in the end? Isn’t it choosing your weapon, so to speak?” ~Leayn Losh

●     Digital writing matters because the ecology of composition matters. The new biological-technological interface of writing allows for new landscapes to be uncovered and old ones navigated in new ways. Digital writing is not a new skill, but a new place, a new way, to implement our skills. -Steve Moore

●     Digital writing matters because students compose, live, and interact rhetorically in digital environments—instruction using digital environments takes this into account and helps students see that writing can be relevant to their lives in very practical ways. Purpose and context have always been difficult to get students to appreciate since assignment can seem removed from the world and just be assignments; digital environments provide context and purpose.  ~Mike Cadden

●     Digital writing matters because texts are no longer just composed to be consumed on a white page in black ink. As a digital audience, we are affected by the way in which images, sound, and text come together, and we need to be mindful of (and teach our students to be mindful of) the way these pieces come together to create meaning, both for us as an audience and as writers. ~Kyla Ward

●     This is where our students are living, and we will have to join them whether we like it or not

●     It allows all learners to communicate: if I can see, hear, and touch something it sticks in my mind longer

●     We have no choice – digital pieces are changing texts. We know longer read and write linearly.

●     Offers immediate feedback

●     Thinking about “digital” vs “new media”  — it’s a lot like regular writing, but in a different form; new media allows for new genres and forms — Katie

●     I think digital writing matters because it is all around us. It is engaging to both teachers and students. As our culture changes to value digital information, we also must learn to value it if we don’t already. It will mean we may get frustrated or feel like we are not tech savvy. It may even mean our students may know more than us. We must remember, as educators we have committed to being lifelong learners.  –Misty Burright

●     Digital Composing means creating and sharing and those are inherently human endeavors. I would also say that being literate in digital composing/writing means being able to participate fully and in an informed way in our democracy. And I would argue that should be one of our main goals as educators – to give students the ability to be informed and critical participants in our democracy. (Paul Oh @poh on twitter)

●     Digital writing matters because it is ubiquitous, because it is familiar to many of the students we already teach or soon will be teaching, because it utilizes tools that traditional writing might not and because it has the power to initiate mass movements and revolutions as we are currently witnessing in several places around the globe. (Valore Stokes) Yay for initiating mass movements and revolutions! (Kyla)

●     Why does digital writing matter?  It matters because it is our future…we are the facilitators                 of the Guttenberg press of the 21st century.  We are the pioneers of the technology frontier.  We have to make it matter to ensure that we teach our children how to embrace the new frontier—Melissa A. Robinson

●     In a world where our students are engaging in a digital world more and more, it is important to also teach them how to interact in digital spaces in a manner where they will leave a positive digital footprint. Our students need to understand that writing digitally is essentially a way to create a global portfolio that will follow them for years to come. (@DrDial) <–response from a principal in St. Joe who is following this discussion on Twitter, real digital collaboration in action


●     Should we distinguish between writing and composing generally? Writing happens in a context that has to be understood by a reader without further explanation. “Reading” the writing of lyrics is different than listening to the song.

○     So then, what is composing?

○     A process. But when composing is “finished,” there is a written text that has to work.

○     So, a composition, if I follow, is the finished written product?

○     I think so. I wonder if some distinction among areas is necessary–composition may not be the same across all fields. When is it “finished”?

There is a saying in the art world “Finished art finishes art”  Stacey Meyer .So maybe it does not get “finished”.<–I was thinking this! No writing is ever finished -Steve Moore

○     At some point the writer has to walk away from the process. When the writer can and does walk away, it has to articulate what the writer wants articulated without further explanation. Mike

■My students, who just finished writing memoirs, were reminded time and again, that their writing would never truly be finished. =)-Kyla Ward



●     Thinking about how these tools challenge our ideas about collaboration and plagiarism

●     “Is that writing?”

○     Shift from “writing” to “composing”

○     Connecting reading and writing — we are working in thoughts

Right before we started the session, I was trying to let Katie Kline know about a focus of some librarians (and other interested parties) right now–transliteracy–the group defines that term as: the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. That concept has made me more comfortable in thinking about these various realms and how they help us develop and refine our sense of literacy overall.  Here’s a link to the group’s Ning: http://bit.ly/dYmVRa (Valorie Stokes)

Dinner Meeting With Troy Hicks

PLWP is going to have the opportunity of meeting with one of the authors of Because Digital Writing Matters on February 22nd.   Troy Hicks is doing an all day workshop at St. Joseph School District on his book The Digital Writing Workshop.  He has agreed to lead a discussion on Because Digital Writing Matters that evening.   

Our Google Groups discussion of this book is going well.  There are 10 teachers who are discussing this book and what the landscaper and ecology of technology is at their individual schools.  We have a sites to share discussion going and are now opening up a mentor text list.  With permission of the group I will post a summary of our shared URLs here after our final discussion.

BDWM Chapter 5 Prompts

Write what is on your mind regarding digital writing after reading Chapter 4. 


p. 119 discusses the importance of teachers having time to explore and play with technology as part of successful PD, and pp. 121-122 specifically mention digital writing marathons as one way to do this.  What opportunities to explore and play would be beneficial to you as you learn more about digital writing? How could PLWP help with this?

pp. 123-4 discusses blending traditional best practices in teaching writing with technology and mentions the use of Mentor Texts.  While the medium of a mentor text doesn’t matter if it is being used to study an aspect of writing, specific Mentor Texts that show effective digital storytelling, such as the work in California discussed in pp. 125-126, would be helpful.  Do you have a list of digital Mentor Texts that you use?  Would you be willing to share? 

pp. 129-131 discuss involving students in technology leadership roles and professional development.  Does your institution involve students in technology leadership roles?  If so, how?  If not, would it be feasible for you to do something in your own classes?

On p. 138 Karen McComas discusses how we as teachers compartmentalize technology into “school technology” and “life technology.”  This is similar to the observation that students compartmentalize writing into “school writing” and “life writing.”  How do you use technology in your life?  Try listing all the ways and reflecting on whether or not any of these uses would be applicable in the classroom.

BDWM Chapter 4

  1. Write what is on your mind regarding digital writing after reading Chapter 4.


Here is what I am thinking for Chapter 4 nudges:

1)  the 6th grade teacher profiled at the beginning of the chapter takes a smart “three-pronged approach” to grow technology and content proficiency in his students throughout the year (p. 90).  Have you done something like this, or can you think of how you could use such an approach in your classroom?

2)  the end of the chapter discusses AES (automated essay scoring) (pp. 112-114).  Does your school/institution use some form of AES?  If so, what are your thoughts about it?

BDWM Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Prompts

Write what is on your mind regarding digital writing after reading Chapter 3.

What did you find interesting in this chapter?  What were the ah-ha moments for you?


“Do you know whether or not your school/district has an AUP?  Should you as a teacher have input into this document?” and use that.

“Read again the definition of technology activity discussed on page 86–which on page 87 is changed to technology steward.  Are you willing to be a technology activist/steward in your teaching situation?  What will that mean for you?  What further knowledge would you need in order to do this?”