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Nicole Welling
Dec 08 2011

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Our Voices Our Choices: Exploring Language & Identity with a Digital Writing Lens


Central Texas Writing Project members explore digital writing in the classroom and take a closer look at student identity, language, and voice within this context. This video specifically chronicles a high school student's experience of photo essay composition through a class blog in addition to highlighting his writing with traditional pencil and paper. Narration and writing pieces by our student reveal the complexities of identity and motivation as an English language learner. 

While showing video footage of class blogs in action, we begin to ask broader questions pertaining to student language needs and the possible limitations of digital modes of writing. We wrestle with ideas of how recent immigrants may present their identity digitally, or rather the questions they may ask themselves as writing becomes more of a transparent and public process through blogs. Ultimately, we wonder about the steps within the language learning process where digital tools should be best used. 

Our Voices Our Choices: exploring language & identity with a digital writing lens

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<p>I love how photo essays can be creating knowledge about yourself, your community, your ideas. I am interested in writing for knowledge in a a science classroom. Does anyone have any ideas or experience?</p>
<p>This is a great question regarding writing in the science classroom. There are many approaches to take.</p> <p>I've had great success with my language learners when we use writing as a tool for observation. This works to measure comprehension and use of vocabulary words. For example, in chemistry class we would run experiements while students watched and then have them write in their science journals about what happened. Often times I would provide them key vocabulary words to include in their writing. This would work as a great pre or post unit assessment.&nbsp;</p>
<p>yes, I love the idea of running an experiment and having part of the student body write observations while the others do the experiment. The students can make or choose thier own experiment, which could be a whole lesson because they can do their own research, materials list, procedures, and the like before hand. Each group could work as a team to complete both sides of the experiment/observer coin. The observer side could share their observations with the groups that experimented. This could be a whole new idea of perceptions and inferences because each observation should be different. I want my students to create thier own knowledge. Deconstruct and then reconstruct knowledge so that it is not standardized as well as developing skills of critical dialogue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>