Music to my ears
This is what I love about NWP - and this is what makes the NWP conference unlike other conferences. Each of the two break-out sessions I attended on Friday either began or ended with a spontaneous guitar solo by one of the participants. In addition to the performances, the one session also utilized a pretty impressive variety of different technologies for multiple purposes. The presenter used a laptop and LCD projector to display his PowerPoint and his students' blogs. He asked two participants to use digital cameras to videotape portions of the session to represent their own personal points of view. Participants took notes on laptops and took pictures with their own cameras. Participants also multitasked using cell phones to take pictures and send texts during the session.
In that case we were definitely plugged in, HOWEVER, our work over the last few days has also reminded me that the value of technology and twenty-first century multimodal literacies in English classrooms is still being held up for debate. In more than one session a few colleagues seemed to ask, "Is technology worth the trouble?" Through our work at RCWP I (perhaps 'we') have become so emersed in reading/thinking/talking about technology in writing instruction that the connection seems obvious. It is not so obvious to many teachers. In a few different sessions I was really challenged to articulate arguments for integrating technology - not just for the sake of using 'cool' technology - but in strategic and responsible ways that advance multiliteracies relevant to students' lives in and out of the classroom. Consequently, I have been reminded of the role NWP sites can and should play in advancing teachers' understandings of multiliteracies - and more than ever I see that RCWP is doing important things in technology leadership and has an important role to play within NWP.