Digital Leadership
Summit at ISTELive 20
Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

From Student to Author: Innovative Writing Instruction for the Digital Age

Location: Hyatt Regency Grant C

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : Workshop

Sunday, June 24, 12:30–3:30 pm
Location: Hyatt Regency Grant C

Nancye Blair Black  
Discover free and innovative ways that web and mobile technologies can develop voice, focus, dialogue, figurative language and more in your budding elementary writers. With the ideas, student samples, rubrics and practical resources you need, transformational writing instruction is just a session away!

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: While the session will provide many instructional practices and tools that can be applied across all devices, the ability to run flash-based websites will allow for maximum workshop participation. If desired, tablet users may want to consider the Puffin browser or a Flash emulator app.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-5
Subject area: Language arts
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
Global Collaborator
  • Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

With the emergence of interactive communication and collaboration tools, the art of writing is becoming increasingly vital to our students. Whether it’s translating the concise word choice of poetry to Twitter, the voice of persuasive essays to blogs, or the delicate crafting of an engaging narrative into ePublishing, effective writing is at the heart of 21st Century learning and skills. In this eye-opening session, educators will learn how to bring out the inner Shel Silverstein and J. K. Rowling in their students through 9 intentional uses of innovative web and mobile apps, including inspiring platforms and uses for student-created digital media. Plus, educators will learn about free and affordable ways to promote their budding authors by publishing paper and digital storybooks and anthologies. These activities, projects, and practices have already empowered the presenter’s students to win international digital storytelling awards and even pen an Amazon Best-seller! Through these engaging activities and student-created projects, educators will see measurable improvements in their students’ spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, details, creativity, elaboration and more! And with ideas, student samples, adaptable rubrics and the practical resources they need to get started, attendees will rush to integrate their new learning as soon as they return to school!


Introductory Attendee Writing Activity - (5 minutes). Introduction to 21st Century Writing Competencies and Common Core State Standards for Writing - (10 minutes). Guiding Principles for Effective Writing Instruction - (5 minutes). 9 Technology-enhanced Strategies (Attendees will engage appropriate writing activities, evaluate student samples and rubrics, and share their ideas about extending presented applications to their own classrooms.) 1-4: Developing Four Qualities of Good Writing - Focus, organization, support, and conventions - (110 minutes). Examples: Focus - Main Idea “Tweets,” Digital Mind Mapping. Organization – Scholastic Story Starters, ReadWriteThink Printing Press. Support – My Storymaker (elaboration), Blogging (precise word choice). Conventions – MakeBeliefsComix (dialogue), Google Docs (varied sentence structure), Voki (spelling). 5-6: Teacher/Peer Feedback and Student Editing Strategies – (10 minutes). 7-9: Digital Media Production, Authentic Audiences & Global Collaboration Opportunities – (30 minutes). Conclusion and Evaluation - (10 minutes).

Supporting research

Presenter's relevant publications: “From Student to Author: Engaging Gifted Learners in the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program” Chapter in: Cases on Instructional Technology in Gifted and Talented Education. Lennex, L. and Nettleton, K., Editors. Pennsylvania: IGI Global, 2014. “Authentic Audiences: Overcoming the myth of ‘When I Grow Up.’” Creative Educator online magazine. San Diego: Tech4Learning, September 2012. “Transforming Technology Integration for the New 21st Century Learner.” Principal magazine. Alexandria: National Association of Elementary School Principals, January/February 2012. Other supporting research: “Return to Sender” (article) – Dan Gordon – “The skills in high demand now are not exclusively reading, writing, and arithmetic. Magner's organization [Partnership for 21st Century Skills] says United States schools need to fuse the traditional three Rs with the four Cs--critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity--while also making room for problem solving and innovation.” “Framework for 21st Century Learning” by Partnership for 21st Century Skills, “Meaningful Learning with Technology” by Jane Howland, David Jonassen, and Rose Marra. “It’s Elementary! Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades” (Book) – Boni Hamilton; “…the integration of technology with classroom content improves student achievement. Thoughtfully planned, such lessons engage students to a higher degree than traditional teaching and lead to the development of 21st-century skills such as complex thinking, creative problem solving, and collaboration.” (p.19) “The Element” (Book) or “Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity” (TED Talk) – Sir Ken Robinson - Demonstrates the need go beyond rote, cookie cutter learning to tap into an transformed educational system that fundamentally values creativity and discovers potential.

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Nancye Blair Black, The Block Uncarved, LLC

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