Reflecting on The Digital Writing Workshop by Troy Hicks

I chose to read the Digital Writing Workshop by Troy Hicks for my book review. This book demonstrates how to utilize technology in the classroom and effectively integrate it into the writing process. Hicks showcases a plethora of tools to use in the classroom including wikis, prezis, blogs, google docs, video editing software, social media, etc. Many students are already familiar with this technology outside of school. Teachers might as well help their students use it productively in their classrooms.

Hicks uses the five elements of traditional writing (Choice, Conferring, Author’s Craft, Publishing and Assessment) and adds a digital twist to them. Hicks teaches us that we can effectively use technology throughout all five elements. I think the most important element for students is publishing their work. Many students like to share their work with their friends. Troy provides insight as to how and which tools can be used for collaborative writing and publishing. Collaborative writing is especially emphasized when using technology in class. Collaborative writing is basically a “think, pair, share” without ever having to leave your desk. (For example, I love when my teacher pulls up GoogleDocs online and you can see every student add their own ideas on the screen. It’s pretty chaotic when they’re all typing at once. But you can see in real-time what students are adding and editing.)

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It was very organized and easy to read. (I even paired this book with my essential question for Dr. Olcese’s class.) It gave me new insight on how to use technology in the classroom. I’m eager to use technology in my class because not only is it fun for the students, but it also encourages creativity, collaboration, and enhances the learning process for all students.

Blabberize!

I found this really cool tool called Blabberize.com. If you’ve ever sent out a JibJab card during the holidays, it’s pretty similar to this. (Except they don’t do cool dances with catchy Christmas music in the background. Also, did I mention it’s FREE?) Basically, you can upload any image, outline the mouth, record your voice and then have it talk back to you! Pretty cool, huh?

I made a Marie Antoinette blabber to demonstrate this.

http://blabberize.com/view/id/1501606

I think this would be a fun project for any class, not just history.
If I were to use this in an ELA class, I’d have students choose a character from a book they’ve read, write a script and have their character recite it using the student’s voice. For example, they could write a small script about what the character was thinking when certain events happened within the story.