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Understanding and Creating Digital Texts

An Activity-Based Approach

Richard Beach; Chris M. Anson; Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch and Thomas Reynolds

Given the increased use of digital reading and writing tools in the classroom, this book provides secondary and college English language arts teachers with activities and classroom examples for using a range of different digital tools—blogs, wikis, websites, annotations, Twitter, mapping, forum discussions, etc.—to engage students in understanding and creating digital texts. It therefore integrates reading and writing instruction through goal-driven activities supported by uses and affordances of digital tools.

This book also provides a framework for designing these activities that encourage students to define purpose and audience, make connections between digital texts and people, collaborate with others, employ alternative modes of communication and gain new perspectives, and constructing identities; practices that are linked to addressing the high school English Language Arts Common Core State Standards.

The book also describes ways to use digital tools to support these practices—for example, using digital tools to foster students’ collaborative reading and writing. The book also describes use of digital feedback and e-portfolio tools to foster students’ reflection on their uses of these practices.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 320Size: 7 x 10
978-1-4422-2873-3 • Paperback • October 2014 • $53.00 • (£37.95)
978-1-4422-2874-0 • eBook • October 2014 • $50.00 • (£32.95)
Richard Beach is professor emeritus of English education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Beach was also president of the Literacy Research Association from 2012 to 2013, and has co-authored numerous titles on literacy including Using Apps for Learning Across the Curriculum (2014) and Teaching to Exceed the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (2012).

Chris Anson is University Distinguished Professor and director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program in the department of English at North Carolina State University. Anson is also chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, as well as the co-author of The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers, 6th ed. (2011) and the editor of 75 Readings Across the Curriculum: An Anthology (2006).

Lee-Ann Breuch is associate professor in the department of Writing Studies, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and the author of Virtual Peer Review: Teaching and Learning about Writing in Online Environments (2004).

Thomas Reynolds is associate professor, in the department of Writing Studies, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and has written journal articles and book chapters on student writers and their work.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Planning for an Activity-Based Approach to Understanding and Creating Digital Texts
Chapter 3. Accessing Information for Constructing Knowledge
Chapter 4. Curating, Organizing, and Summarizing Information

Chapter 5. Networking and Connecting with Others through Note-taking, Social Bookmarking, and Social Media/NetworkingChapter 6. Engaging in Online Discussions
Chapter 7. Co-constructing Knowledge through Collaborative Writing
Chapter 8. Composing Multimodal Texts through Use of Images, Audio, and Video
Chapter 9. Designing and Editing Texts for Audiences
Chapter 10. Using New Technologies for Formative Response to Writing
Chapter 11. Summative Assessment of Digital Reading and Writing
Chapter 12. Professional Development for Teachers
About the Authors
This book promotes authentic reading and writing opportunities through use of digital toolse.g., blogs, wikis, websites, annotations, Twitter, mapping, and forum discussionsthat can be easily adapted for any secondary and college classroom activity. The text provides excellent links among the theoretical reasons underpinning technologys use in the classroom, research-based supports of technologys coursework relevance, and the practical implications for adopting technologymainly online applications and programsinto individual lessons and throughout units. New educators or those leery of entering the digital education maelstrom will find helpful suggestions and models to aid them through the transition. Educators who consider themselves digital natives will find refreshing new perspectives and perhaps even new digital tools to enrich their teaching. . . .Summing Up: Recommended. Faculty, professionals, and practitioners.

An important book! Educators will find Understanding and Creating Digital Texts a valuable tool: The authors provide extensive explanations of digital activities, which expand the learning environment through the use of a variety of digital tools. In using these activities, students increase their ability to navigate the internet as they develop real world reading and writing skills.
Carol Wickstrom, University of North Texas; director of the North Star of Texas Writing Project

Understanding and Creating Digital Texts helps educators intentionally connect digital reading and writing tools with real-world literacy practices. It lays out both the whys and hows of designing inquiry-based learning spaces that encourage students to use digital tools and purposeful literacy practices to collaboratively weave their own perspectives and identities into co-constructed understandings of texts created by others. Each chapter also links suggested activities to relevant research, Common Core State Standards, digital tool sets, assessment ideas, and teachers’ stories of how digital literacy practices play out in real classrooms.
Julie Coiro, University of Rhode Island

This is a valuable resource for every teacher’s bookshelf! Offering expert advice and compelling examples, Beach and company provide insights into effective pedagogical practices, as well as a wealth of tools to engage students in digital reading and writing. In addition, Understanding and Creating Digital Texts: An Activity-Based Approach provides connections related to the Common Core State Standards and a compendium of materials in an online repository.
Kristine E. Pytash, Kent State University

This book is as comprehensive as it is inspirational! By introducing engaging activities and classroom examples, the authors brilliantly demonstrate how digital tools can be used to enhance literacy instruction and transform teaching and learning. The framework advanced for both accessing online information and constructing digital texts lends supportive guidance in planning and assessment of important digital literacy skills. Understanding and Creating Digital Texts is a must read for pre-service and in-service teachers alike.
Jill Castek, Portland State University

Describes classroom uses of digital reading and writing tools to mediate secondary and college classroom activity.

Focuses on integrating reading and writing instruction of digital texts within purpose-driven activity.

Provides a planning framework based on students acquiring literacy practices associated with implementing the 6-12 English Language Arts Common Core standards.

Includes links to multiple desktop, iOS, and Android tools relevant for use in achieving certain purposes, which are hyperactive in the eBook!

Describes methods for providing both formative and summative assessment of students’ uses of digital writing practices and affordances.

Includes online professional development resources related to teaching digital writing.

Provides additional resources and further readings on the book’s website http://digitalwriting.pbworks.com.