Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cultivating Digital Writing

It has been a few weeks since I have last sliced. I have few opportunities to hibernate before the slice of life challenge in March. But I have, however, been setting up the digital writing component of the class, Teaching Writing in Middle and High Schools, that I teach at the University of Central Florida.

The Slice of Life Challenge was the impetus for getting me write more frequently on my blog. It also gave me the courage to implement digital writing with my students at the high school and then college level.  I first assigned 50 of my freshman  a two week daily slice challenge at the end of the school year using our NING space with my colleague Lee Ann Spillane and her students. Last spring I challenged my ten graduate students to either slice weekly or to do the March challenge.  Needless to say, I survived both experiences.

This fall I decided that digital writing must be a component of the undergraduate section of the same class that I teach at UCF. Although we wouldn't participate in the weekly slice or the March SOLC challenge, we would create blogs and use those as a vehicle to explore our texts and digital writing. (I will encourage them to join the SOLC in March). We have posted twice.  Check out their posts here.

Unlike the my other experiences, I have been surprised the the variety of web tools that students are using to blog including blogger, wordpress, weebly, wikispaces, and tumblr.  Some are reviving blogs. Many are enjoying the assignment because they've always wanted to blog, but haven't made the time. We are working the kinks out, but so far I have been delighted by their craft and pluck.  

To challenge myself, I chose to learn how to use a different tool, wordpress, to create our class page. Although I have used blogger successfully for a two years, I have been struggling with wordpress and have shared that with my college students as they too have struggled.  Technology doesn't work like magic.  I am hoping that my college students remain flexible enough on our digital writing journey this semester to figure it out together.  Technology often works like teaching, there isn't always a step-by-step guide and you have to make time to figure it out. That journey is what I will be exploring with my future teachers this semester.


  1. Blogging and thereby extending my writing helped me to become a more reflective teacher, and in practicing every day, I experienced what my students experience in writing workshop. I encourage every young teacher I mentor to find a blogging platform they are comfortable with, and to take the plunge. They will not regret it.

  2. Your graduate students are lucky to have a teacher who is willing to try (even when failure and struggle are possible) and grow with them. What a wonderful model of teaching you are showing them!


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