Tying It All Together

After several hours of research, spending time pouring over blogs, websites, and articles, I have found that Web 2.0 not only makes teaching more interesting for students, but it also promotes creativity in their writing. When used the proper way, web 2.0 applications such as digital comics or animations capture students’ attention, which in turn, encourages them to try harder and results in a creative, personalized, product. If students are interested in their work, they are more likely to take ownership of the product, and therefore, they will produce something they have put their hearts and soul into.

Web 2.0 applications allow students to interact with technology that they may not see at home. They have the opportunity to see other people’s work and creativity, which may spark creativity in the students. Applications such as animations or digital comics encourage students to step outside the standard classroom activities and try something that requires creativity. Students have the chance to create an entire movie from their chair in the classroom. The students can encounter new things that emphasize creativity and help aid in writing.

These applications not only focus on the individual creativity, but it can be used to promote group creativity. By using applications such as a wiki or other collaborative work, the class as a whole can work together to create something. Teachers and students can create something together. This can promote a new form of writing, the collaborative writing. Students learn to rely on each other’s writing and edits. The end product is the writing not of one, but of many.

Throughout my studies, the main issue I discovered is with the accessibility to the internet of students. Some students do not have access to a computer or the internet. Yes, they can go to the local library, but some students do not have transportation or the ability, whether it is having to work 40 hours a week or having to watch younger siblings, to spend time at the library using the internet. Therefore, as a prospective teacher of title I schools, I encourage teachers attempting to use web 2.0 applications to be aware of this issue. If teachers want to use web 2.0 applications, it might be necessary to do it as in class activity using the school’s computer lab or renting laptops. Not everyone has the same opportunities outside of school; it is important to make sure that every student has the same chance for learning in the class room and for school work.

Overall, web 2.0 applications can be used to promote creativity and writing. Numerous creative writing activities can develop from something as small as watching a YouTube clip or something as big as creating a wiki. Students can use Facebook, twitter, or MySpace to delve deeper into analyzing a book or character. Web 2.0 is a tool for all teachers, and not only promotes creativity and writing, but promotes learning as well. After all, 21st century students deserve a 21st teacher.

Using Digital Comics in the Classroom

In Ting Yuan’s “From Ponyo to “My Garfield Story”: Using digital comics as an Alternative Pathway to Literary Composition,” Yuan discusses the benefits to using Digital Comics to teach writing in a 2nd-grade classroom. He uses Will Eisner to define what a comic actually is: “The arrangement of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea…In its most economical state, comics employ a series of repetitive images and recognizable symbols. When these are used again and again to convey similar ideas, they become a language–A literary form, if you will” (297).

Comics can refer to things such as cartoons, manga, graphic novels or comic books. Recent data shows a correlation between words and images. According to Yuan, “manga can be used to teach multiculturalism, by exploring other cultures and other ways of reading and writing, and help to engage students in authentic literature.” By introducing manga or comics into the classroom, students can improve their overall creative thinking abilities (297).

Technology is rapidly changing classrooms. Students now know more than some teachers. They use cell-phones, constantly texting back and forth. They use places such as Facebook or MySpace to connect with other people and share thoughts and feelings. By integrating Digital Comics into the classroom, students develop an interest in their writing and creativity.

In New York, a 2nd grade class integrated digital comics into their lessons. The teachers used a few website to create a Garfield comic. The students started creating their own stories using a set theme. The students then used their stories to begin creating their own comic. By creating the stories first, the students started their drafting process. As the put the finishing touches on their cartoon, the students found themselves having to look beyond their original story. The students had the opportunity to be creative. “They selected backgrounds, characters with different facial expressions and body gestures, conversation bubbles, and other background objects to support and expand their original drafts”. The students had the chance to further develop their stories by adding visuals. The students developed their writing skills further without being forced by the teacher. Their texts resulted in having more dynamics rather than the standard conversation or story (298-99).

Using comics in the classroom not only capture’s students interest, but also aids in writing skills and discussions about creativity and writing. This type of technology can be used, not only with younger students, but with the older students as well. Older students can try a more advance website such as goanimation.com. Even students who are at different levels of learning, such as students who are ESOL or require IEP services, are able to use digital comics as a creative outlet (298).

References:

Yuan, Ting. “From Ponyo to “My Garfield Story”: Using Digital Comics as an Alternative Pathway to Literary Composition.” Childhood Education 87.4 (2011): 297,297-301. ProQuest. Web. 16 June 2011.

Creating Fantasy Worlds Through Collaborative Writing

In Rish and Caton’s article, “a teacher helps students create a world of interlinking stories and develop more detailed, sophisticated writing through in-depth collaboration (21). Students studied fictional writers and created a fictional world of their own. The students created individualized dialect, beings, and surroundings. The students then fashioned stories about their fictional world. The teacher developed this into a collaborative world with its own map and individualized regions. The students wrote “histories, stories, poetry, and lore” about their areas. Some of these creations were connected, and some students aided in altering the stories. Two students fashioned “underwater elves who, despite their common origin, do not get along.” These two students then worked together to construct a collective history of the two regions (22).

Through this world, students were required to interact with each other and generate conversation about each other’s creations. They began with using a wiki discussion board, but finding it limited, the students developed in-class discussion which led to in- depth collaborative writing. This assignment allowed students to rely on each other and use other’s creativity. The students used other students’ characters, worlds, and histories (23-24). This type of collective writing resulted in “a social network of student authors who shared an interest in fantasy fiction and came to support each other’s writing in productive, yet complex, ways” (28).

While using wikis and in-class discussion created good collaborative work, issues arose. During the collaboration, students were using ideas that belonged to others. While some students’ ideas were open to use, some students claimed ownership of their ideas. The students did not want others to use the ideas they had worked so hard on. Due to this issue, grading became another issue. How can a teacher put a grade on a group writing project? The wiki timeline only shows when something appeared not who came up with the idea or writing. In this case, the teacher could not assign group grades (25).

Another issue with collaborative writing is the variety of student participation. Some students created detailed stories while others participated in group discussion rather than the wiki. Some students wove stories with other students, while other students used individual stories. Some students were unwilling to work with other students and vice verses. In the end, according to how collaborative the students were, “some students’ ideas and advice were valued more than others” (25-26).

While different perspectives arose from this activity, the teacher found that by writing along with his students helped figure out some of the issues. The teacher not on wrote his own stories with the students, he collaborated with them. He shared ideas and used the students’ ideas. He encouraged ideas or offered advice for new ones. The students saw him not as a teacher, but as “co-creator or a guide.” He did not just tell his students how to do the assignment; he got in the midst and created it with them (26-27).

By joining his students, the teacher shifted from someone in charge to someone who participate and struggled like a student. The students had the chance to see the process of the writing, not just the final production. The students listen and borrowed or shared ideas not because he was in charge, but “because some of the students found them engaging or compelling and useful to enhancing their own visions for their work….” Students were willing to approach him without fear of approaching the teacher (27).

This type of web 2.0 application not only encouraged in-class discussion, but it encouraged student collaboration. Students’ interacted with each other and each other’s individual world and characters. While there may have been some issues with insuring equal amount of participation and how to grade, overall, it resulted in a learning process not only for the students but the teacher as well.

References:

Rish, Ryan M., Joshua Caton, and Lisa Storm Fink R.W.T. “Building Fantasy Worlds Together with Collaborative Writing: Creative, Social, and Pedagogic Challenges.” English Journal 100.5 (2011): 21, 21-28. ProQuest. Web. 23 June 2011.

Promoting Creativity Through Online Role-Play

Using blogs to create online role-play can help promote creativity and collaborative argumentation. Doerr-Stevens et al. discuss the uses of technology to encourage collaborative work. In this article, students used online role-play to argue positions over topics. The teacher hosts the discussion on a private and monitored blog that allows students to state their position and respond to others (33-34). This encourages the students to be creative with their arguments and persuasion.

During their role-play, the students created a fictional profile using their created character. Their profile was used to validate the integrity of their character and position. Throughout three weeks, students commented on others positions, stated their own argument, and faced or persuaded other characters. After the three weeks, students then created a “persuasive” essay providing their individual view of the topic (35).

This assignment provided the students with a creative outlook for thinking about argumentation. These students used a blog type format to hear other student’s views, argue their own position, and attempt to persuade other students. They became their fictional character. These students received a voice and an opportunity to create a different identity. The students became interested in the activity and the way it allowed them to think outside the normal debate. Students had to thinker deeper than the standard debate and understand the different point of views each character held (37).

This type of assignment could be used in a variety of different ways. For example, students could create a blog based on a fictional character of a novel discussed in class. Their blogging profile would reflect how the student envisioned the character. The students become their character and have the opportunity to communicate to other characters in the novels played by other students. The blog could help them in to develop a deeper analysis of the character or reasons behind the actions of a character. This would help with any writing assignments that required the students to analyze the reasoning behind a character’s action.

References:

Doerr-Stevens, Candance, et al. “Using Online Role-Play to Promote Collaborative Argument and Collective Action.” English Journal 100.5 (2011): 33,33-39. ProQuest. Web. 23 June 2011.

Animation to Teach Creativity

Web 2.0 applications such as goanimate.com help promote creativity and writing. Students can create individualized or group animations. These animations can be used for creative writing or for research purposes. Teachers could have the students find a topic to research, and then, create an animation on the topic. For example, I used goanimate.com to create a soap-opera type comic about blogging. Not only does it capture the visual, it captures the drama lovers. Students may find it more interesting to create an animation on than using a pen and a piece of paper. This site allows students to be creative with their writing and ideas. Please take a look at the animation and let me know any suggestions for the next one.

References:

Clyde, Anne. “Shall we Blog?” Teacher Librarian 30.1 (2002):44,44-46. ProQuest Education Journals. Web. 16 June 2011.

Blogging is fun

Blogging can be fun for students.  Teachers just need to be willing to encourage students.  Check out Mrs. Harper and the students talking about blogging.

Hello Writing World

Hi everyone,

I am going to attempt to analyze how web 2.0 applications can aid students in understanding writing and further developing their creativity.  Often times, students fear new technological activities such as blogging, digital comics, or online role-play.  They are not always sure what it is or how to get started.  Some students also fear creative projects or feel self-conscious about their own creativity.  Through the use of these applications, students have a chance to express their own writing, thoughts, and opinions in a creative outlet that is personal for each student.  As I research and delve deeper, I plan to discover the benefits of using different web 2.0 applications to teach creativity and writing.  Thank you for stopping by my blog, please feel free to leave feedback or any new ideas or activities you can suggest.

Ashley Crandell