Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No Longer Writing as We Once Knew It

"And in the here-now of the World Wide Web, of the blipvert soundbite, of the writing that is no longer writing as we once knew it, we are all finding ourselves responsible for making connections, for finding ways to learn and to teach new forms of making cultural meanings." (Johnson-Eilola, 226)

I'm reading "The Database and the Essay" by Johndan Johnson-Eilola in Writing New Media, and I come to the very end of the piece and read the above quote. I just smile. This line is a great definition on how I feel about teaching writing, or in other words, how I feel about incorporating the new types of writing in the English curriculum.

For examples, I am a huge advocate of alternative forms of writing, especially writing that incorporates technology. For a while, I was really into having students create videos. I also like using videos as a way to introduce material. As I was reading Johnson-Eilola discuss other forms of writing, such as working with sound tools, I think back to a video on YouTube that I used as a way to preface a similar assignment I was having my students do. For my assignment, they students were required to reenact something they had read in class, but with a modern spin. Below is a "music video" on the Oedipus story. Warning: it is very cheesy, but it does a great job of taking an ancient story and retelling it in a modern (maybe more relatable) way.

As a teacher, I completely agree with Johnson-Eilola. I find myself responsible for giving students the opportunity to make connections and find and understand cultural meanings. Isn't that the point of literacy? To just push "literacy" without it being meaningful to the students, are they truly grasping literacy? Between the Common Core State Standards and the many types of literacy, today's society seems to be very much literacy minded. As teachers of English (well any discipline, really), we need to constantly be reminded that writing is no longer what it used to be: pen and paper. It is now something so much more, especially due to the explosion of technology. 

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