Weebly, Wikis, and Digital Storytelling: The Potential of Web 2.0 Tools in Writing Classrooms

Weebly, Wikis, and Digital Storytelling: The Potential of Web 2.0 Tools in Writing Classrooms

Brian Kissel
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4502-8.ch065
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In this chapter, the author explores three questions: 1. How is the practice of writing in K-12 classrooms influenced by this era of new technologies? 2. How can online technologies be brought into the classroom so students can understand that they read and write everyday in digital forms? 3. In what ways can teachers create technology-rich experiences to support 21st century writers? To answer these questions the author briefly examines the theoretical foundation of the process model for writing and how online technologies have impacted this model in classrooms. Next, the author describes three Web 2.0 tools that are available to teachers to use in their classrooms during writing: digital portfolios, wikis, and digital storytelling. The author explains how he uses these tools within his own college classroom. Finally, the author provides a rationale for why teachers should consider using these within their own K-12 classrooms so that digital technologies become a natural part of students’ writing experiences.
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In my undergraduate Language Arts course, I begin the semester with a simple exercise. I ask students to think back to the past week and make a list of the various types of writing they composed, their purposes for composing them, and their intended audiences. Drawing from personal, school, and work lives, students consider the types of writing they crafted. They have ten minutes to complete this exercise, but they usually finish in two. Typical responses are included in Table 1.

Table 1.
Types of writing
Type of WritingPurposeAudience
Notes in classTo rememberSelf
Term papersTo get a good gradeProfessor
Grocery ListTo rememberSelf
Order slips for workTo communicate with the cookCooking staff
Notes in plannerTo organize, rememberSelf

This past semester, when I asked students about their responses, one student explained, “I don’t write because I don’t really have time to write anything other than stuff for school. At work I write orders. At home I write lists of things I have to do. And at school I write papers for classes, but besides those things, I don’t write much else.” When students don’t view themselves as writers, they don’t see the types of writing they do every day in different forms.

I then asked the class to consider what they do online as readers and writers. Encouraged to expand on their charts, students began to identify the various ways they wrote within their online worlds. They considered what it meant to be 21st century writers, composing in an era where technology is ever-present, and using mediums such as smart phones and computers as platforms for their messages. With this lens, students broadened their lists to include the following in Table 2.

Table 2.
Types of writing, including digital writings
Type of WritingPurposeAudience
Facebook (Status updates)To connect with friends/to communicateFriends
BlogsTo respond to others’ commentsSelf, blogosphere
TextsTo communicate/informFriends, family
EmailTo communicate, inform, connect, respondFriends, family, co-workers, professors, classmates
Instant MessagingTo communicateFriends
TwitterTo communicate, inform, entertainFriends, Twitterverse

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