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Writing in the 21st Century

As it would happen, I got a tweet incidental alert on March 19th that Will Richardson was live streaming a presentation from his Australia tour.

These are notes I took on paper and transcribe here now. Why paper? Because video consumes most of my bandwidth and you know, he who listens well takes notes, or takes part in the chat room, or a bit of both.

Then re-shares.

Just raw notes through my filter. Perhaps nothing new. However, Will has a way of presenting that engages us to rethink what we take for granted. So here it goes.

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What does change look like?

-Have some people in your network who disagree with you.

Downes. Diversity in the composition of your network.
See slide #26 on this PLE presentation.

Connected writing
We write not simply to communicate, but to connect. Writing is a means, a node that needs to start a conversation. It is a draft. There is no real final copy. What happens after publishing is the more important. We are seeking to engage in conversation -purpose of publishing.

Writing not for a contrived (had to look it up) purpose, but for a real audience.

Writing
starts with:
SHARE
moves to:
COLLABORATION
goes on to:
COLLECTIVE ACTION i.e. doing things together to change the world.

Writing for a real audience, how can we make it?

NCTE- National Council of Teachers of English is trying to redefine literacy.
Writing in the 21st Century (links to pdf)

Literacy
build relationships
pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally.

Classrooms
Thinly walled.
Literacy is about going outside the classroom.

What's the assignment?
Number of words or self-sponsored writing.

Sir Ken Robinson
on TED
The Element
Personalization of 21st Century learning

Self-directed writing: own passion.

Q for students:
What do you want to learn most about in this world? What would you write about? Not because they want to get a grade.
What do you want to tell the world about your topic?
Become a reporter, an expert

This cannot be taught in a sequence.

Visuals in writing.

You are a literacy teacher.
Writing is ubiquitous; not just for a particular purpose.
Writing starts with reading: RSS

RSS
Refine your reading.
Learn how to sift through 50 things to get 10.
George Siemens: recognize patterns of information, synthesize. That is when blogging comes in.
Links are the keys to network. Writing without links is not writing to connect.

Links add value to the post and context. Reader chooses to click on some of them. Are you teaching how to read in a hyperlinked environment? Different from reading a book or essay because it is not a linear experience.

There is a process, a reading skill to reading links.
Short attention span theory.

Trackbacks. Comments on other people's blogs. A distributed conversation.
So publishing is not the end. It's the beginning. We wait. No comment? Go to the blogs and say hey! Here's my post reaction.

Who cares on what I have to say?
Find communities.

Be clickable and googleable

Once you publish, don't take it down on second thoughts.
There is private blogging in Blogger, but there is no private RSS. (which reminds me of my post)
Better update. I trust you more if you are transparent.

Chat in Diigo
Critical thinking and analysis
You can RSS Diigo annotations
You cannot do that on paper

How to
Do it first for yourself, then for the students. Help them create theirs.

Digital footprint or portfolio

Some tools mentioned:
Online notebooks
Google Notebook -stopped developing.
Zotero -citation saved
Zoho

Cloud computing- everything done online
Livescribe pen
Rethink writing: transparent, connectable, googleable.
Writing is happening in audio as well.

Screencasting software. Jingproject.com



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Side note on RSS management.
I understand Will advises to keep a well trimmed RSS. Reason being to favour focus and attention span. So if you have sift 50 items to get only 1 of value, you should take the feed out of your RSS, for example.

Question for Will Richardson
How does that RSS policy balance with the idea of a distributed network mentioned by Stephen Downes?
The network speaks to you via trackbacks and links, I guess. But if you are new to the network, how do you build a PLE without reaching out and tolerating a bit of noise in your RSS?

What I am doing with my RSS now.
RSS because I am interested in the content or the person. Then create a folder of the readings that matter to me now. Deal with that first. Ignore the unread count.
The Friends shared items in Google reader are also a source to reach out to other important readings within my area of interest, but I understand it is still an inner-circle.

OK. Post.
And now to reflect and design ways in which all of this can apply to writing in my EFL classroom.

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