Understanding a digital writing cycle: Barriers, bridges, and outcomes in two second-grade classrooms

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© 2017 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose ‒ To describe how the digital writing experiences of two collaborating second-grade classrooms are representative of a digital writing cycle that includes barriers, bridges, and outcomes. Additionally, this chapter aims to link theory and practice for teachers working with an increasingly younger generation of multimodal learners by connecting teacher reflections to New Literacies perspectives. Design/methodology/approach ‒ The current study is informed by multiple perspectives contributing to New Literacies research. These perspectives blend the traditional disciplines of literacy and technology while recognizing both the growing use of digital tools and the new skills and dispositions required for writing. This chapter uses multiple data points to present (1) how the teachers approached implementation of digital writing tools, (2) how students responded to the use of digital writing tools, and (3) how the digital-related writing experiences aligned with key tenets of New Literacies research. Findings ‒ The authors present student barriers for full participation with corresponding bridges implemented by teachers to help students navigate in the digital writing classroom. Each finding is supported with examples from student and teacher interviews as well as classroom observations and artifacts. The chapter concludes with a “lessons learned” section from the perspective of the teachers in the study with each tenet supporting a New Literacies perspective by addressing key considerations of multimodal environments such as the importance of early opportunities for teaching and learning with new literacies, the need to help inexperienced students bridge technical skill gaps, and the benefit of social relationships in the digital community. Practical implications ‒ By adapting findings of the study to a digital writing cycle, this chapter discusses how guiding principles of New Literacies research reflects classroom practice, thereby granting current and future teachers a practical guide for bridging theory and practice for implementing digital writing experiences for elementary students in multimodal environments.

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Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation

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