Crafting Digital Writing in the Classroom Ariel Stone

I initially chose to read Troy Hicks's book Crafting Digital Writing because I have always loved technology and learning more about how to use it. Technology is becoming more and more relevant everyday, and teaching our students to be digitally literate is just as important as teaching them to be better readers and writers as citizens of the 21st century. Selecting a piece of digital writing to implement in the classroom was not an easy task. The students in my classes uses the online classroom service Schoology daily, and I wanted to introduce them to something new but remain relevant to both the content of the class and the students.

After much deliberation, I decided to use chapter 7 from Hicks's book, "Crafting Social Media," as inspiration for the assignment I created. I decided to include social media because all of my students use social media everyday; using it in the classroom will simulate a familiar space for students to create in so it doesn't feel like "work." Another reason I chose social media is because it is such an integral part of society today. Teaching my students how to think about and use social media smartly and effectively will benefit them in many ways: "It is quickly becoming our duty as educators in the twenty-first century to guide our students toward responsible use of social media" (Hicks, 2013, p. 138). Think of the possibilities! Imagine a world where this generation uses social media as a positive platform to intelligently discuss current events, post information about their lives, and even apply for jobs. Students need to learn that crafting in social media is much more than a simple picture with a caption. Most students do not view social networking and even texting as writing. Hicks (2013) advises, "we can help students be more intentional in the ways they employ these tools to link to online resources, comment on others' status messages, and contribute to the wider discourse on what they value in their lives" (p. 139). Finally, I chose social media because I am as familiar with it as my students. Creating this space is fun for me and incorporating social media into the classroom matches my personality.

Before choosing a social media platform to jump off of, I had to answer this question: "What is the purpose of the message?" (Hicks, 2013, 146). My students are starting to read the novel The Great Gatsby, and I wanted to create a space for them to reflect on the book without bombarding them with writing assignments. In the previous unit, the students were unhappy with the text and the unit was painful for everyone. In order to prevent this, I want to gauge how they are feeling without wasting valuable class time to talk about it. So the purpose of the message I am trying to get them to get across is to reflect. I decided to use a platform similar to Snapchat in order to accomplish this. Students will be able to record and post a quick video of themselves in a space for sharing with myself and with the rest of the class. Because actually using Snapchat runs into many issues with ethics and mixing too much of my own personal life with my students', inspired by Dr. Kajder, I decided to use Flipgrid to accomplish this goal. Presenting it like a Snapchat story, I told the students that they would record a very quick (a minute and a half) video of themselves talking about the book so far. I wanted this to be relatively informal: I wanted to present this assignment to students in a non-intimidating way, so that they are treating as they treat social media. After we do this for a few weeks, I want students to realize that creating something for social media or digital spaces in general requires thought and intention. Opening the discussion for students to become more thoughtful and intentional when crafting anything for the web is imperative.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the results of the assignment. Most students were excited to have a ‘class snap story,’ and were eager to share their opinions of the novel so far (we’ve only read chapter one, but I wanted them to reflect mostly on the characters Fitzgerald creates). This assignment was much less daunting to my students than a written reflection; however, some of my students were intimidated by recording themselves, knowing that the whole class could see what they’re saying. I will present it in a less stressful way when I do this assignment again, telling them that a) this is a judgement free space and b) it is hardly any different from their experiences posting on social media. I will also have students respond to each other if I do this assignment again, so I know they are using the activity as a social platform (that’s the whole point of social media, right?). I want to continue using flipgrid as a way for the class to communicate with me and with each other about what we are reading in class. I plan to use this not only throughout the rest of this semester, but also in my future teaching career when I am on my own. It is a quick and easy way to communicate while incorporating social media and technology in the classroom; students will not only have the chance to reflect on class or other things, but also have the chance to practice using technology and social media smartly.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.