Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Writing for Purpose and Audience

The following is from a weekly column I write in the OCDSB Business & Learning Technologies e-Newsletter called Curriculum Connections.

A framing question to prime the inquiry pump about writing for different purposes and audiences might be to ask your students how the intent of their writing might influence their choice of the various digital tools. Specific questions might include: Is the language of texting and blogging the same? Would you text your teacher? How does publishing your work on the internet affect your word choice, idea support and your draft revisions? Are full sentences the most effective way to collaboratively brainstorm online when gathering supporting evidence for a group project? How is writing a script for a comic strip different than writing a narrative?

Pop Quiz – What do you call a Narrative Script? Answer below

Marshall McLuhan said “The Medium is the Message” (1960).  Never more true, digital tools can be used to carry, and make, meaning. Blogging is generally used for supported opinion and peer feedback, and is a great way to model appropriate and respectful online behaviour. Popular blogging sites are www.edublogs.org and www.blogger.com. Teachers can moderate all comments prior to posting. The site can be expanded to include class newsletters, uploaded images, videos and files, or an online extracurricular club.

A wiki is a collaborative space for online discussions, group projects and e-portfolios. Each group or student could have his/her own page for uploading files, images, and scanned or digital work. www.wikispaces.com will import your students without the need for an email account. You can also post homework, a class calendar, forms and invite parental discussion. A great feature of wikis for educators is the History record of contributions. Student participatory levels are easily determined, and assessed, and inadvertent deletions can be restored. For OCDSB workshop notes on wikis please go to http://ocdsbwikiworkshop.wikispaces.com/ You will also find lots of help and resources at http://www.wikispaces.com/site/tour 

www.weebly.com peeks my interest. Seems like a combination of website with embedded blog. It was very easy to use, drag and drop and I added students without email addresses.

TIP – most web hosting sites provide help and FAQ’s for self-directed learning

These suggestions represent just a few of the many, free web resources available to students for thoughtful, purposeful and creative writing. If you are using something that is working well in your classroom, please share your stories.

Answer to Pop Quiz – A screenplay!

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