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Springing in to DI: Digital Communication and Audience

Written by Katherine Frank
March 06, 2012

With only enough time to “dip in” to Digital Is today, I identified a resource that was interesting to me in terms of a study group I’m co-facilitating with Christina Cantrill and Troy Hicks through titled “Writing and Inquiry in the Digital Age.”  Leslie Moitoza’s “Rethinking Composition in a Multimodal World” caught my attention in terms of helping to think about how digital communication and a multimodal world challenge how we think about writing.

Leslie’s own journey to engage with and better understand digital communication first from a student’s perspective and then from a teacher’s perspective emphasizes the National Writing Project’s belief that the best teachers of (digital) writing are (digital) writers themselves.  Her account of embarking on this journey as a learner and as a teacher is powerful and instructive

My focus, though, tonight is on one of the comments posted by Anne Herrington in response to the resource: 

“While the educational value of the project is evident, it also demonstrates the potential of digital storytelling to reach audiences beyond the classroom.  When I view “Richmond,” I experience it not as a text created for a class, but as a social commentary for a wide audience.”

This is a powerful statement about the ways that digital communication can impact audience and raises questions about how much this was recognized by the teacher and students during the drafting process.  In her inquiry into the project at the end of her resource, Leslie writes:

“As students were working I observed genuine enthusiasm for the project…They got the idea of ‘audience’ which was never as evident in the traditional essay process.  They really cared that their story had its intended effect when they knew it would be shown to a large audience of their peers.”

Creativity and real world application seem to inspire this enthusiasm and the same is reflected in audience reception.  Connection with the writing is simultaneously more intense and diverse—personal, communal, and far-reaching.  As Anne Herrington observes, its potential is powerful.

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