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Bud Hunt
Oct 29 2010

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5 Resources in this collection
This wiki, developed by Will Richardson as a presentation handout, is an attempt to explore what he means when he talks about "connective writing." For several years now, Will and I have been having a conversation off and on about what connective writing is and what it might look like. I struggle with the idea that much of what Will defines here is new; haven't teachers always wanted good writing to look like this? While the speed and sheer number of opportunities available to writers and teachers of writing have increased, is that increased speed different enough for us to consider connective writing as "something new?" 
In this interview, Will Richardson expands upon his definition of connective writing and connects it to his life as a teacher and a writer. He describes a connective writing classroom as a place where passion and curiosity and serendipity drive what happens, which is a very different place from many of the classrooms where writing happens today. So perhaps there is something new about connective writing—or at least something pedagogically different than the norm.
While I'm not even certain that there is such a thing as connective writing, the glue of connective writing, at least to me, is the hyperlink. The hyperlink might be the new piece of the puzzle in that we can physically make the connection between texts that we have asked students to make metaphorically in the past. In this resource, a collection of excerpts from several blog posts, I attempt to define how I see links as elements of writing.
The tension between good writing and the tools that we use to make good writing is ever present. In this piece, another excerpt from my blog, I attempt to map out a bit of my own connective thinking journey. Of interest, I think, is that if you read closely, you'll see a text jump back and forth from digital to print to digital again. What do these moves do to the texts, I wonder?
Youth Voices is a network of students and their teachers who are collectively demonstrating what connective writing can look like in and across schools. Pay close attention to Paul Allison's description of "authentic conversations." These conversations are connective if anything is.

What's New, or What's Good: On Writing Connectively

Is Connective Writing New?

My friend Chris Lehmann likes to say, ‘What's good’ is better than ‘what's new.’ And he's right. Plenty of folks have wandered into, and lost, arguments about what came first when they should've been arguing about what was worth doing.

"Connective writing" has been an elusive target and frame for me as I've tried to pin down just what's new in writing in digital spaces. I am certain that the journey has changed me as a writer, as a teacher of writing, and as someone who thinks about what writing was and will be. Teachers and students who are writing connectively are changing, too, be it in regard to the classroom where their work happens or the nature of the work itself.

If you're exploring your writerly self, or thinking about how to teach writing at a time when every website is a publication seeking submissions from every visitor, then you might want to think about what sort of digital writing is worth doing. And connective writing, whether it's new or not—heck, whether it exists or not—is worth thinking about. And worth doing.

I'm certainly a connective writer. I crave the ability to link and leave space for readers to write back whenever I set out to compose. That's different from the writing I did in school.

Connective writing's worth doing. Even though it may well only be a new set of clothes for some very thoughtful writing practices from our past, I'm content to think of connective writing as a coat that we might use to bring terribly thoughtful and not-so-new writing practices into the classroom.

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