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Professional Development

Written by Erin Wilkey Oh
December 08, 2011

Melissa Shields, director of instructional technology for Etowah County Schools in Gadsden, Alabama and co-director of the Jacksonville State University (JSU) Writing Project, facilitated a district-wide book study of Because Digital Writing Matters for middle and high school English Language Arts teachers. The book study was part of the district’s Reading in Engaging Authentic Disciplines (READ) Initiative, which received a 2010-2011 Enhancing Education Through Technology Grant. The goal of the READ Initiative is to improve performance in English Language Arts (ELA) and reading comprehension across the disciplines. The district partnered with the JSU Writing Project to provide 21st Century ELA professional development through book studies (including BDWM), technology training, vertical teaming, and hands-on workshops.  

In a summary of the READ Initiative, Shields discusses the value of the Because Digital Writing Matters book study, 

The book study “Because Digital Writing Matters” provided classroom examples to help teachers envision and create digital environments for learning. This book explored everything from how to arrange the physical space in a digital writing classroom to how to craft an acceptable use policy – all necessary to transform the writing classroom. The text further explored what educators, parents, and policymakers can do to help equip students with the technology-related communication skills they need to thrive in school and in the global workplace.

Read more about the READ Initiative in this December 19, 2010 article from the Gadsden Times.