Mentor text of the day: Elaine Blacktree Tweets

Twittature or twitterature can be fun, silly, and disposable, but it can also be a means of creative re-imagining of a work of literature.  Margo Walter reworked The Bell Jar as 113 tweets from Elaine Blacktree  a few years ago, and it is still the most sophisticated piece of Twitterature I have seen a student produce.  She did a nice job of incorporating other social media as well so that they piece took advantage of some of the medium’s affordances.

Twitterature can also happen outside the medium, as in these examples, which are now collected in a book.



What is this “Digital Writing,” Anyway?

Blog posts. Multimedia creative writing projects. Powerpoint presentations. These are all forms of digital writing, and they are becoming more prevalent in our classrooms with each passing day.

Why should we be putting emphasis on these projects? Well, technological literacy is more important than ever. There are jobs that involve (or entirely center around) social media promotion, email correspondence, designing presentations, or making unique compositions that move past pen and paper.

I am a huge proponent of digital writing because of the creative drive it offers students. My favorite assignments in school have always been those that allow me to freely express my creativity. As someone who constantly has thousands of things running through his head, I want a way to get things down in whatever medium I possibly can.

It’s the idea of a total artist. Somebody who expresses themselves in whatever way is most appropriate. Whatever way they feel like expressing themselves at the time.

And that’s what we need more of in education: free expression and creativity. As someone who has come to his moral and ethical values through reading, writing, discussing, singing, playing music, drawing, etc., I know I wouldn’t be the same person I am if I wasn’t encouraged by those around me to always express myself and be who I want to be.

That is what digital writing does. It gives students those extra opportunities to write a script and film it. To digitally manipulate audio to create something most teenagers physically couldn’t a decade ago. To give their work an audience. If students are writing digitally with true, honest feeling, they’re already on a path of writing that most students aren’t.

To make digital writing prominent, students in school need to be exposed to digital writing as good literature. They’re already exposed to it a great deal — as educators, we need to let them know that what they’re seeing, reading, and hearing is an important source of writing that they, too, can produce.

It’s not about eliminating physical writing from high schools. I hope pens and pencils exist for decades to come. However, it’s not a binary; we need to embrace what works, which sometimes means conceding time spent on tradition.

“I’m Too Cool for That” and Other Lies I Tell Myself


During high school, I was pushed by teachers and classmates to be in speech, drama, band, choir, and yearbook. I didn’t stick with any of those for more than a semester or two.

These activities were for the “dorks” of the school. I would have rather opened up a wormhole and jumped into an alternate universe where dragons and dinosaurs ravaged the planet than ever be caught enjoying something like that.

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“This Will Revolutionize Education” –A Story That Needs To Be Told Again and Again

A fabulously constructed informative and argumentative video.

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

I needed to write a post yesterday morning. I had on my desk a few ideas from articles I had cut out of newspapers, suggestions that friends and family had sent to me, and pieces  from a chapter on donors that I had drafted and wanted to try out on my blog.

Before I decided which of these items I would expand into a post, I checked my website to see how many views I had overnight, what comments had come in and whether they needed responses from me, and, of course, dumping the spam that had collected overnight. I also checked to see who had clicked onto the site for that is a way I find out who is reading posts and a chance for me to pick up different ideas. And that is how I found today’s post. One reader had downloaded my monthly cartoon feature on technology…

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