Crafting Digital Writing: Composing Texts Across Media and Genres by Troy Hicks

July 16th, 2013

This response is based off the readings for chapters 4-5 in the text.

These two chapters are filled with so many useful practices, strategies, and “doable” ideas for classroom use. The exemplars offered are thoughtful, concrete, connected to CCSS, and offer a variety of ways to integrate digital writing. I am so happy to have chosen to read this book for book club, even though I am sure all the other choices were great resources. The quote that stood out to me as being very meaningful and relevant because of its ability to give purpose behind crafting audio text says, “Given that we live in a sound-bite culture, our students must listen attentively to spoken texts, both live and recorded, in order to become effective digital writers prepared for future study, work, and civic engagement (89).”

I found three resources in this text very useful; two of them are located on pages 62-63. They are the six principles to make a presentation sticky referenced on a blog and principles related to effective slide shows. These strategies were perfect for classroom application and I will reference them when I take on digital writing in the forms of presentations. They were simple, easy to apply, and teacher and student friendly. It was also nice to see the author reference certain new literacies that we have touched on in thus course, such as Glogster. The other resource is Table 4.1 on page 70 which offered “alternatives to stand-alone slide presentations” Anytime there are many resources available on a new topic, which it is in my case, makes it so much easy to implement. I furthered appreciated the theme of intent of the text and the two chapters specifically.

I would have liked the author to go into Prezi’s more because I was confused about his stance on it as a digital presentation. Troy Hicks said, “Prezi’s new zooming presentation software is a welcome technological advance, if used with intention (66).” My confusion is, well what’s the intention? I need to know more about what makes Prezi a creative tool without predesign unlike Keynote or PowerPoint.

The author, Troy Hicks discusses some points that I would call “touchy.” He challenges us to push students beyond Keynote, PowerPoint, etc. because they are sort of one size fits all, standard, and require little creativity. He expresses, “For many years now, the ubiquitous practice of having students present a slide show in front of the class has been one of the chief complaints by those railing against educational technology (61).” I agree with Troy Hicks that we need to teach students “effective craft” and allow for experiences with “effective digital writing in the form of presentation” but I do question and slightly disagree due to several shortcomings I would have liked to see addressed with suggestions for overcoming them:
  • When do we have the time to teach the content and the creation aspect of technology with such tight reading / writing blocks? I would have liked the lack of time in the instructional day to be represented as a real concern.
  • What about the teachers who don’t have a writing block?
  • What about schools who are restricted to basals?
  • How can the technology facilitator and media coordinator at the school be of assistance on the technology end? Can they assist in “intentional focus on craft” and steer students away from things such as templates and unintentional slides?