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Revision in Digital Writing Environments National Writing Project Annual MeetingOrlando, FL November 2010
Research on revision in the digital environment
The pedagogical implications of teachers as digital writers
An analysis of the impact of revision in digital writing environments
Purpose of the Study 1) Investigate the ways in which teachers use revision in their own writing 2) Investigate the ways in which digital writing environments impact revision and revision instruction3) Investigate the ways in which the revision process is implemented into teachers’ classrooms.
Random sampling of revised pieces posted on the E-anthology, focusing on comments that were given to each piece
Tier One Study Participants English Language Arts 45% Elementary 20% Special Education 5% Foreign Language 4% Reading 4% Science 4% Social Studies 4% Math 4% Other 10% (Speech, Composition, Literacy Coach, ELL, Arts/Humanities, Music, FACS, Counselor, Principal, Careers, Curriculum Specialist)
Tier One Study Participants K-5 31% 6-8 27% 9-12 37% Univ. 4% Other Less than 1% Age Range of Participants 20-29 34% 30-39 32% 40-49 17% 50-59 14% 60-69 2%
Tier One Study Participants Teaching experience: Less than three years 26% Three to five years 20% Six to ten years 16% Eleven to fifteen years 17% More than fifteen years 22%
Teachers and Revision When writing for any reason (professionally, informally, creatively, or otherwise),
95% of participants say they revise their work
5% of participants say they do not revise their work
When asked if they teach revision in writing in their classrooms,
In their own words…. “I look for internal consistency of ideas within the paper as a whole and then in smaller parts” “I put it away and wait until I find it again” “I revise very little, but if I do, it is from peer suggestion” “I revise as I write” “I use spellcheck”
Teaching Revision The most common activities in the classroom to facilitate revision included:
teacher revision directly on students’ papers
peer revision groups and feedback face to face
examining student work as a class to offer suggestions for revision
In their own words…. “we read backwards paragraph by paragraph” “have students revise for specific things such as Noden’s Brush Strokes or Lane’s snapshots and thoughtshots” “check to be sure words are written, illustrated picture reflects” “we never get to revision” “I don’t teach revision. I teach Math” “Students hate to revise and so do I”
Key Findings ~many teach revision and don’t realize that they do ~a significant percentage of participants believe that they are teaching revision, when in fact they are teaching only editing and proofreading strategies ~the division between revision and editing is becoming increasingly blurred as revision becomes increasingly simultaneous ~teachers often do not “preach” what they “practice”; meaning that the very strategies teachers use in their own revisions are not the strategies they teach in the classroom
Collaboration/community that can develop in responding to others
Importance of using digital writing environments, even in F2F classrooms
Use of technology as motivator for student participation in revision
Participants’ anticipated use of digital environments in writing instruction
Tier Two Focus group at the Annual Meeting, Philadelphia
Emerging Themes Audience Genre Self-efficacy, motivation Teachers as writers (NWP influence) Effects of Technology
Audience Having an authentic audience for whom to write enhances the revision process for students. When they know that their writing is going to be viewed by someone other than the teacher, the final product begins to matter more. Rowen (2005) argues that “when students know someone other than their teacher will see their writing, it becomes easy to help them with process and mechanics.”
Audience When asked if she could have any resource for teaching revision to her students, what it would be, she responded with, “real audiences for every single thing that we do. . . . I struggle to find that audience that provides my students what they really need to get invested in the writing.” She reiterates that her students “are totally different when they have a real reason” to write.
Genre Students today are writing more than ever; however, the formats they use differ vastly from their ‘in school’ writing. Students still produce academic writing: essays, research papers, and literary analyses. They sometimes compose poems, stories, and plays. But most of their writing is done in forms that have yet to be recognized as ‘writing’ by the majority of classrooms and curricula. “Writers now compose through new media like e-mail, listservers, and creative software packages. Writers use digital technologies to write many new kinds of texts, such as Web logs, hypertexts, and electronic portfolios” (Yancey, 2004).
Genre “Students are certainly much more interested in digital kinds of writing now in new ways – podcasts and video casts and those kinds of things.” She, therefore, is incorporating this technology into her classroom. Her students create “digital stories, which they love. . . . that particular kind of writing that marries their love of image and sound and all those textures.” Williams (2001) explains, “Because digital technology increases student access to a diversity of expressive media, we as composition instructors must model our engagement with the multiple forms of literacy that constitute students’ lives.
Self-efficacy and Motivation For many students, the word revision has little impact. They have written their draft and either they put everything they had into it the first time and cannot possibly improve it or they have always gotten good grades on their papers and they do not need to revise. Teachers are finding that the attitude of students about revision is affected by many things, but one very specific influencing factor is the attitude of teachers about the revision process.
Self-efficacy and Motivation Participant 1 says about revision that her students “hate it. . . . I say revision, and they go, ‘Ugh’. You know, they’re squeamish about it.” Participant 2 explains that she sees a change in students’ interest in revision that “I’m sure is a direct result of my enthusiasm for it as well.” Acknowledging the importance of revision and finding practical and comfortable ways to teach it are practices that teachers of writing need to adopt
Teachers as Writers (NWP) Participant 1 acknowledges that “as a writer myself, it took me a while to get to that point [practicing revision] . . . . And I think the summer institute helped with that to some degree.” As teachers evolve in their attitudes about revision, so do their students. Participant 2 reflects, “I think certainly most everything that I do about revision comes from a summer institute. Certainly even the model of writing workshop . . . comes from what I’ve experienced participating in multiple summer institutes.”
Teachers as Writers (NWP) From creating the norms for the writing groups to planning how to effectively respond to others’ writing, teachers continue to incorporate the NWP techniques into their writing instruction. For students, the impact of the NWP is clear. They are experiencing writing instruction in new ways. Because so many teachers experience the summer institutes, more students, according to Participant 2, “go through a number of teachers who are writing project TC’s.” She also comments, “As we have TC’s who are trained in the schools . . . there’s a big change. I’ve noticed a shift in the last decade over how students think about revision.”
Effects of Technology One of the most important purposes for using many digital sites is for students to have an immediate audience. Teachers seek out places to publish student writing, and the internet provides a multitude of these. From track changes to digital writing groups, student writers can receive feedback on their documents and then revise for a new draft. When asked how often their students write in digital environments, Participant 1 said, “Every day. Every class day. . . .the Elmo and the internet and things to do research,” and Participant 2 also says, “yeah, daily. . .We use email all the time. We are constantly emailing each other.”
Effects of Technology Participant 1 states, “If we create the environment and give them time . . . ultimately they become more sophisticated users of technology and more sophisticated writers.” The use of digital writing environments also has changed the students’ attitudes about revision. They are more motivated to revise when they know they have an audience. Participant 2 says that her students are “much happier to revise in a digital environment, and they’re much happier to revise for digital publication.”
Tier Three 251-----number of posts that were revisions of previous posts (marked as a revision) 5.8% of the Open Mic postings 90% Press, 9% Address, 1% Bless Random sampling of the 251 revisions E-team responded to 229 of the revisions---91% Genre breakdown of random sample Poetry 60% Fiction 20% Creative Non-Fiction 10% Memoir 10%
Tier Three All E-team members responded to revisions 83% of E—team suggestions were carried through to the 2nd drafts (posted as a revision) 66% of other responders suggestions were carried through to the 2nd drafts (posted as a revision)
E-Team Responders Average of 22 years teaching experience Average of 4.6 years on the E-team 50% of E-Team members believe revision is highly important, 50% important. Average anticipated weekly reading load (before summer)=74 pieces, high 140, low 50
E-Team’s Views on Revision Revision is global, editing is sentence level Revision is when the work needs more attention than a few minor edits, for example when the meaning or message of the piece isn’t clear Revising involves organization and content. Editing is mechanics. Revising is the big stuff (fixing the car). Editing is the little stuff (painting the car).
Emerging Themes from E-Team Responses Choice of words Word choice was the overwhelming response to authors Questioning “What if you…..”, “What do you mean by” Through the author’s eyes I’m trying to understand where you are coming from The starch in the press Pointing out the stuff that’s hard to point out Clarity Here’s where I get confused.....
Findings Length of the response doesn’t matter Specific things to do DOES matter, giving examples of what a line or sentence COULD look like Pointing out details that the responder liked DOES matter Gaining their trust with “Two stars and a wish” Envisioning Conversation is key Conversation is give and take, revisions were more successful when metaresponses were high (when the author responded to responses)
What’s next Two articles in draft Book proposal in draft
Shifting our thinking…. How do these research results and the discussion of how responding in an online environment influenced one teacher/writer impact your thinking? Take a few minutes to record any new thoughts...