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Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments

ISBN: 978-0-470-40772-1
208 pages
November 2010, Jossey-Bass
Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments  (0470407727) cover image


How to apply digital writing skills effectively in the classroom, from the prestigious National Writing Project

As many teachers know, students may be adept at text messaging and communicating online but do not know how to craft a basic essay. In the classroom, students are increasingly required to create web-based or multi-media productions that also include writing. Since writing in and for the online realm often defies standard writing conventions, this book defines digital writing and examines how best to integrate new technologies into writing instruction.

  • Shows how to integrate new technologies into classroom lessons
  • Addresses the proliferation of writing in the digital age
  • Offers a guide for improving students' online writing skills

The book is an important manual for understanding this new frontier of writing for teachers, school leaders, university faculty, and teacher educators.

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Table of Contents


The Authors.

INTRODUCTION Why Digital Writing Matters.

ONE The Landscape of Digital Writing.

TWO Revising the Writing Process: Learning to Write in a Digital World.

THREE Ecologies for Digital Writing.

FOUR Standards and Assessment for Digital Writing.

FIVE Professional Development for Digital Writing.

AFTERWORD Some Conclusions, Many Beginnings.



Web Resources.



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Author Information

Dànielle Nicole DeVoss is an associate professor and director of the Professional Writing Program at Michigan State University. Elyse Eidman-Aadahl directs National Programs and Site Development at the NWP at the University of California, Berkeley. Troy Hicks is an assistant professor of English at Central Michigan University, where he also directs the Chippewa River Writing Project.

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Press Release

October 18, 2010
Because Digital Writing Matters

What Is Digital Writing and Why Does It Matter?

New Book Defines Digital Literacy, Offers Guidance for Teachers and Policymakers

Berkeley, CA – In today’s world of texting, tweeting, blogging, and social networking, young people are writing more than ever. Students are faced with learning multiple new literacies to succeed in our fast-paced, information-rich world, yet most schools have not caught up with the digital reality that students live in daily.

 Because Digital Writing Matters, a new book from the National Writing Project (NWP), looks at what educators, parents, and policymakers can do to help schools meet the challenges of new digital literacies and to equip students with the technology-related communication skills they need to thrive in school and in the global workplace.

“Today’s young people are using a range of digital tools to compose and create in new and exciting ways,” said Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project. “It is a game-changing moment for teachers of writing. The very notion of what it means to write is shifting, and educators are faced with adapting their teaching practices to integrate new technologies while redefining writing and learning for the 21st century.”

Because Digital Writing Matters describes how

  • Digital writing is more than just a skill; it is a means of interfacing with ideas and with the world, a mode of thinking and expressing in all grades and disciplines.
  • Digital writing can help students develop critical thinking skills and support learning across all subject areas.
  • Educators, community members, and policymakers must work together to promote technology development in schools to create learning environments that support digital literacy.

The authors stress that writing classrooms will need to embrace tools, strategies, and skills beyond those that traditional classrooms required. Through stories, examples, and vignettes, Because Digital Writing Matters illustrates how cutting-edge educators have successfully used digital writing tools in diverse classroom and school settings to enrich learning and provide meaningful writing experiences for students at all grade levels. The book offers practical solutions and models for educators and policymakers involved in planning, implementing, and assessing digital writing initiatives and writing programs.

Since the early 1990s, National Writing Project teacher-leaders have been at the forefront of exploring the implications of new digital tools for the teaching of writing. Because Digital Writing Matters is part of NWP’s ongoing national effort to create and disseminate resources and learning opportunities for educators as they develop effective strategies for teaching and improving new media literacies.

Because Digital Writing Matters, a companion to NWP’s popular 2003 book Because Writing Matters, is published by Jossey-Bass, and will be available in early November 2010. To learn more about the book, or to order a copy, visit www.nwp.org.

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Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments (US $22.95)

-and- The Writing Teacher's Activity-a-Day: 180 Reproducible Prompts and Quick-Writes for the Secondary Classroom (US $19.95)

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