Anytime I get a chance to collaborate with my National Writing Project friends Troy Hicks and Bonnie Kaplan, I am game. So, yesterday, I joined Bonnie and Troy for a keynote presentation at the New York State Association for Computers and Technology event. But since I could not take more time off school, we used Google Hangout and I joined them virtually. I was this huge head on the wall in the conference hall, which was a little odd and made me feel a bit like Oz, you know? But it worked.
Our theme was digital writing, and how to notice and nurture the compositional practices of young people as they use digital tools to make shifts in their writing. While I assume most of the audience were technology coordinators and technology teachers (given the organization), our message was that writing is at the heart of technology, and that we need to put more agency and ownership into the hands of our students.
Bonnie shared a documentary project that she has been involved with in which video and digital storytelling are being brought down in the early childhood classrooms, giving voice and space to the stories of young learners. I talked about how to begin the year with technology (with our Dream Scenes project) as a way to set the stage for the rest of the year. And Troy not only shared a video of his own young son talking through his choices as he worked on a Wiki project, but he also brought forward two different multimodal essay projects from older students.
It was fascinating to watch us collaboratively weave our ideas together, and we used Today’s Meet as a backchannel of discussions. Troy was masterful in bringing those topics and questions to the forefront, so that the audience’s reactions and sharing became part of our keynote presentation.
Peace (in the prez),