Online Content Construction: Empowering Students as Readers and Writers of Online Information

Online Content Construction: Empowering Students as Readers and Writers of Online Information

W. Ian O’Byrne (University of New Haven, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4341-3.ch016


It is increasingly clear that this generation of adolescents is almost always connected to online information (Horrigan, 2010; Pew Research Center, 2010). Indeed, the Internet has quickly become this generation’s defining technology for literacy, in part due to facilitating access to an unlimited amount of online information and media (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). Yet it is a paradox that history’s first generation of “always connected” individuals (Pew Research Center, 2010) is not taught how to effectively and authentically use the digital texts and tools that permeate society. As society has incorporated dynamic and new media in everyday life, educators are required to expand traditional understandings of text and literacy that have replaced many of the ways that we communicate, create, and socialize (Sutherland-Smith, 2002; Alvermann, 2002). Put simply, there is a need to value and construct different kinds of texts, learning, and interactions within the classroom (Beach & Myers, 2001). To achieve this goal, this chapter presents a synthesis of theoretical perspectives and research into a new instructional model known as Online Content Construction (OCC). OCC is defined as the skills, strategies, and dispositions necessary as students construct, redesign, or reinvent online texts by actively encoding and decoding meaning through the use of digital texts and tools.
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What Is Online Content Construction?

The writing process (Murray, 1972, 1999; Hairston, 1982) has been defined as including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. As the writing process moves from print to pixel many of these skills are employed as students construct online content. As student writing moves from page to screen the key difference between the traditional writing process and OCC is that teachers and students need to consider other elements that are particular to working with online informational text (e.g., semiotics, visual literacy, multimodal design). This framing of OCC moves the field of literacy research, and writing instruction further by providing opportunities to discuss and include this work in teaching and learning activities in the classroom, while remaining flexible as changes in technology warrant.

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