According to a new study by the National Writing Project and the College Board, teachers can be crucial in driving the use of technology in writing instruction. The study followed nine teachers in diverse classroom settings, who use digital tools for writing and learning. It found that when educators teach students to use Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, and comic-creating software, students' writing and thinking skills are heightened.
"It's teachers who are the technology drivers, seeking out digital tools, learning them, testing them, and finally implementing them successfully in their classrooms," Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the NWP, told eSchoolNews.
The study makes some pretty hefty recommendations, including pressing for the integration of digital learning across all subjects; providing every student with one-to-one access to computers; mandatory professional development for teachers in the effective use of digital tools; and ensuring every district nationwide has a comprehensive technology policy.
In a similar vein, a recent article from the Journal of Magazine and New Media Research supports the inclusion of social media in curricula to make teaching more effective. Dr. Mia Moody suggests that teachers might, for example, "encourage students to discuss the prevalence of hate groups in social media or compare and contrast the goals and objectives of race-related groups on Facebook."
Are you incorporating digital media in your classroom? Do you have unfettered access to technology to make it possible? Are the study's recommendations a good idea? Even feasible?