Engaged Writers: Crafting New Texts

Curated by Peter Kittle
October 25, 2010

The prevalence of new multimedia authoring tools embedded in personal computers’ operating systems or contained within websites has redefined the kinds of writing students can compose in our classrooms. However, the mere existence of writing affordances doesn’t mean that students will automatically use them, much less understand how best to put new digital writing tools to use in a purposeful manner. 

As a teacher of writing, what excites me about the new digital writing tools is the ease with which students can create texts with multimodal attributes. While the traditional rhetorical questions that every writer faces exist likewise with multimedia composers, students often feel better equipped to respond to issues of audience, topic, and purpose when they have more than just the written word at their disposal. 

The resources listed here represent a variety of approaches to helping students understand the particular traits of digital media. Rather than assuming that students can replicate the effective practices of multimodal composers (simply by virtue of having been exposed to nearly endless multimodal texts through television, movies, video games, etc.), the teachers whose resources are highlighted here know that students need support in composing in multimedia. 

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