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.