For six weeks I'm joining the community at #CLMOOC in playing with digital composition. Each week we are given a new way to consider our work and try to create through that lens. Our first make was an unintroduction (mine is here) and our second was to reMEDIAte something (mine is here). It's been interesting to read through community Google posts, Twitter chat archives, blogs, reflections, and other writing around makes. There's this period where everyone struggles to figure out the make, then the play begins, then the reflection occurs, and then new understanding are created collaboratively. Isn't this exactly the cycle we'd want in our learning communities?
In the classroom, we seem to always be pushing to move forward. We're always working to start new writing, try new tools, and get to our next project. We're constantly wanting to check things off our lists. In this push for forward movement it's always a bit of challenge to get students to revision their work. It's not easy to convince students to rework a piece by adding dialogue, trying it as a poem, teasing out a scene, or strengthening a character. It's not easy to get students to look for better words, create stronger sentences, write stronger leads or finish with an ending that helps clarify a point.
New Possibilities in Digital Writing
Perhaps using digital tools offers a new way to see revision. This week's #CLMOOC challenge asked us to reMEDIAte something (reMEDIAtion reflections here). What does it mean to reMEDIAte? CLMOOC says in reMEDIAtion, "The focus is on media, and ways in which moving from one medium to another changes what we are able to communicate and how we are able to do so." For me, I thought of reMEDIAtion as a way to think deeply about purpose. What is the message we hope to convey? How does changing our medium strengthen that message?
my reMEDIAtion post). I wanted people to feel the healing power of sitting beside the water. I used an image for my first composition, a video with music for my second, an image with a poem for my third, and then converted the poem into Haiku Deck to be able to use images for each stanza in the final make. Most people seemed to prefer the image and poem. It seems reading the words of the poem while feeling the image presented worked best for most readers.
I often think about the abundance of visual media now being used to create messages. Visual media can be moving. Sound can add other layers of emotion. Words, however, really allow the author to speak directly to the "reader" to share the intended message. Video and sound seem to me to leave more up to the reader in determining the author's intended message. Playing with different mediums can open our eyes to new possibilities.
Helping Students to ReMEDIAte
What does all of this mean for our students? I see reMEDIAtion as a way to have a conversation about composing in ways that strengthen our message. How do words, images, sounds, and video help us to create more powerful compositions? Taking the time to reMEDIAte with students might help young digital writers to understand that there are a variety of ways to share your message. Choosing the one that really speaks the most clearly to what you want to say is essential. Physically revisioning and reMEDIAting in different ways with the same intended message and having peers discuss the results might really strengthen our purposeful decision making in the writing process.
It has been my experience with primary writers, that revisioning digitally is easier than when having written a story with pencil, crayons, and markers. The look is cleaner when students have finished. There's an ease to making changes. Digital spaces like Kidblog actually allow students to see their first piece beside their revised piece. Digital tools, it seems to me, are easier to manipulate and making changes is easier than when we have physically written and drawn with pencil. Perhaps digital writing creates opportunities to think deeply about our purpose, revise our work, reMEDIAte our composition, and push our work as creators and authors to new heights.
If you'd like to join the #CLMOOC you can go to the Google Community linked above to find all of the information you need. There are four more makes, I believe. I'm finding I'm learning more about composition, digital writing (and creating), digital tool possibilities, educational practice, and the "writing" process all while building a new community that thinks deeply about the work we do as literacy educators. Additionally, I've stumbled upon some new poetry friends through #CLPOEM. You'll find lots of sub-communities running through this event.