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).