Friday, July 19, 2013

Troy Hicks

In Troy Hick’s text, Crafting Digital Writing he presents many points of discussion and useful tools that are useful to me as a teacher. He is obviously a proponent of digital literacies and enhancing the digital skills of our students to provide the understanding that it is a digital world and these skills matter. Michael Wesch would agree with him. Wesch also is a strong proponent of changing the educational system to include the twenty-first century student. His article   I do believe that schools and teachers are changing their curriculums and patters to adapt, however, many teachers still feel if their school doesn’t provide the technology then their hands are tied. However, teaching like a twenty-first century teacher doesn’t mean you have to be a full technology school. I think Hicks gives plenty of ideas to help these teachers discover tools they can use. If you haven't viewed Wesch's video "A Vision of Students Today" it is really worth watching.

 In Hicks' first chapter he states “Yet it is clear that students in the twenty-first century are doing much more than alphabet print on paper; they are increasingly exploring images, video, slideshows, wikis, podcasts, digital stories, and other types of digital writing that allow them to share their work beyond their classroom walls with other students, their parents, and eh broader audiences that the Internet allow” (Hicks 2013). As a teacher I am very much aware that students are doing this, however, I am also cognizant of the fact that many of these students do not identify it as being academic or they have never heard the term “digital writing.” This makes me wonder how I can get my students to understand how to take what they put in the “cloud” as important and real.   They look at these venues as “fun” and not serious to learning how to write.  I also believe many teachers do not look at these venues as tools to enhance student literacy.  After all, it is not how they grew up writing. As a teacher of writing I need to incorporate these tools on a daily basis because it is the world these students live in and technology is the way they communicate today and in the future. This motivation factor is highly important. In my classrooms so often I get the “how is this relevant to what I am going to do when I graduate?” Well, learning how to be digitally literate, at the same time enjoying the “process” is extremely valuable to a teacher and student.  “For some teachers and students, technology provides the real audiences, purpose and publication venues that allow them to grow their communities of writers, to discover digital writing, and to invite parents and families into the process“(Hicks 2013). The key word for me in this quote is “purpose.” This is the word that needs to be evaluated and constructed to my students, to their families, and to my administration. Hicks does a great job in conveying the importance of this because it is the way we, as a world, write and read.

“In some ways, creating a web-based text is very similar to creating a print-based text. Authors brainstorm, develop idea, scratch those ones, develop new ideas, and continually revise” (Hicks 2013). I love this and he is absolutely correct. The skill of critical thinking goes hand in hand with the “process.” Hicks’ list of composing different digital writings through the media and how they compare to the different genres of writing has given me, as a teacher, various ideas already swirling through my lesson plan brain.

After, it doesn’t get more relevant then digital literacies. Technology is certainly not going away; it will only get more advanced. The pen and paper, is almost a lost art, soon be a lost art. It is scary, and sad, but real. To many of our students the thoughts of writing a five paragraph essay seem so irrelevant compared to creating a web site or commenting on a blog. This ‘digital writing” is crucial to their future. We, as educators need to try and make this connection to them so they can take it more serious and be proud of what they write.  Students still need to read and write but encouraging digital literacies is “a way for students to truly understand what it means to be literate in their ever more digital world” (Hicks 3013).


  1. Diana,
    You did a great job with your post. I could not agree with you more regarding your comment about how students often have never even heard of the word "digital learning." I also agree that "schools and teachers are changing their curriculums and patterns to adapt, however, many teachers still feel if their school doesn’t provide the technology then their hands are tied." I liked how you pointed out that "teaching like a twenty-first century teacher" does not necessarily mean, per say, that your classroom has to have every technology tool, resource, and device available to incorporate technology on a daily basis. My classroom, like many others, definitely has limited access to the technology. I also liked how Hicks provides many simple changes teachers can do to include the use of technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. I really loved the video clip you chose "A Vision of Students Today" ironically, I was actually looking for the same video to include in my blog because I just watched this while taking my summer class through University of Phoenix. I went back to my blog and added a similar video as a link.


  2. Hi Diana,
    I really enjoyed reading (and watching) your post. I thought the videos really connected well to the reading. There were some very interesting points which tied into your statement,

    "I do believe that schools and teachers are changing their curriculums and patters to adapt, however, many teachers still feel if their school doesn't provide the technology then their hands are tied. However, teaching like a twenty-first century teacher doesn't mean you have to be a full technology school."

    I think what is really important, which you emphasized, is that digital skills have an internal non digital component. Organizing, planning, discovering, and creating to name a few are all skills that share space in the classroom with a digital frame of mind. I think it is crucial to show the purpose of all of these skills in and out of the classroom. I love how you emphasized the need for purpose and that digital writing needs to be accredited within the student body as a valid and probably, soon to be predominant way of writing.

    I love the comparison of technology through the ages in the second video. Basically, the technology of today is the new 'fire to the caveman', it is merely the medium used to transport the minds of today in this digital age.

    I look forward to discussing the book more in class!


  3. Diana, I'm so glad you mentioned Wesch. Hard to talk about digital literacy without thinking about him. Like you, and as I mentioned to Kim on her blog, I have lots of ideas swirling through my brain. Between the class we just took together and this one, I think August will be very busy for me!!

  4. Great post, Diana. You cover a lot of ground here! I especially like and appreciate that you discuss the value of "purpose" in teaching and in teaching writing. For so long, teaching writing has been all about school writing and school-based literacies. Bringing the teaching of writing out of school and introducing literacies and texts that also exist outside of school (i.e. digital texts) liberates the student writer (to a certain extent). The layered nature of digital your blog post and our representative of the layered nature of our evolving brains. Texts just don't exist on one plane anymore, and gearing our teaching of writing around the making, hacking, remixing and crafting of new texts is quite exciting, I think. Like inventing a new form! Thank you!