Making Connections – Theory to Practice

“It may be that cultures invent and refine writing technologies at least in part in order to refashion their definition of the mind and self” (Bolter, p.189).

This course has truly been an exploration of how 21st media is enabling our culture to identify how technology is shifting our modes of communication. Before starting the MET, it was clear to me that when given the opportunity to use technological tools, my grade 3 students were far more engaged and committed to producing thoughtful work. Still, I had a certain amount of faith in the value of traditional writing that made me apprehensive of completely giving up familiar practice. Our studies around the theme of multimodal writing had me think critically about how, even as a primary teacher, I need to think about creating opportunities for students to write purposefully by linking in-class learning to the outside world. Writing for the sake of practicing proper grammatical conventions is an idea that is often rejected by today’s students. I now view the classroom as place for students to think and develop outside experience, under the guidance of a teacher. In reading several chapters of Orality and Literacy (2002), it became clear to me that writing is not only for the purpose of forwarding information but rather a way for the author to process and reflect upon their own thoughts. Bolter (2001) goes on to say that electronic writing affords the writer a more “appropriate space for the inscription of the self” (Bolter, p.189).

Throughout this course, it has become increasingly apparent how electronic communication has influence today’s classroom environment. Digital writing is said to have improved our communication to others, strengthening affiliations amongst teachers and students and building collaborative commonplaces for which to share knowledge. It is hard to break away from the authority of the printed book. The idea of visual images having meaning, is sometimes difficult to conceptualize when print has a long established history maintaining a cultural environment where “tradition and innovation were in balance” and where “verbal representations were of higher order than visual” (Bolter, p. 208). As the New London Group (1996) warns, technology will continue to remediate new writing spaces and even transform the way we use language. Technology accelerates the speed of communication, increasing the overall amount in which we write and enabling us to extent our state of reflection. Access to the Internet has granted the writer with the freedom of expression – perhaps the most profound element of digital writing.

Many thanks to Teresa and Jeff for a wonderful semester,

Jessica Hall

Reference:

Bolter, Jay David. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print [2nd edition]. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92.

Ong, W. J. (2002). Orality and Literacy. London: Routledge.

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