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The Embodied Classroom: Technologies Used For Secondary Composition Pedagogy (2019)

Curators: Meghan Carey, Meg Heyssel, Jocelyn Powell, and Susan Williamson | University of Richmond | December 2019

Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Dr. Daniel Hocutt
Collection Archivist: Sharon Caldwell

For this collection, the term “educational technology” refers to using electronic resources, software, tools, social media applications, and processes as tools for enhancing teaching and learning experiences in the classroom and workplace. Educational technologies are essential to teaching in the 21st century, since the use of technology as a teaching and learning tool helps prepare students for a technologically advanced world.

This collection focuses on the use of educational technologies in teaching composition at the secondary level, supporting both teaching practice and learning experiences. These technologies offer teachers the ability to learn about and test effective practices, while also providing students the resources necessary to utilize current composition trends, skills, and facilities. Educational technologies as diverse as Instagram, Facebook Groups, Penzu, and Storybird provide instructors models for novel teaching practices and resources for lesson planning. The also provide students online tools for drafting and reflection along with frameworks and structures for helping students improve composition techniques.

One of the surprising outcomes of this collection is its broad approach to “educational technologies.” Rather than focusing on educational tools used directly in teaching composition, this collection combines digital resources designed specifically (even exclusively) for teachers with instructor-designed plans using social media platforms and online tools designed to provide students  and teachers with collaborative spaces for drafting, revising, and reflecting. We recognize that the fabric of a secondary composition teacher’s digital life necessarily includes resources for lesson planning, resources for engaging social media in rhetorical composition practice, and tools for composition instruction, practice, feedback, and revision.

We include a private Facebook group for AP English teachers, which provides its members a safe space for sharing lesson plans, teaching ideas, successes, failures, and details specific to the AP test. This provides the teacher an “educational tool” that reinforces best practices, steers away from less successful approaches, and provides a safe haven for honestly sharing the challenges of teaching. Teachers may even offer feedback on lesson plans and demonstrate how to interpret rubrics for student composition.

Because we are witnessing a revolution in communication and composing practices, techniques, modes, media, and tools, this collection responds with representations of tools that are unlikely to be placed together elsewhere.

Educational tools like these, from resources for teachers to resources for students, have become part of the fabric of teacher and student digital lives. At this point in the 21st century, they reflect ways that technologies are emerging to engage both students and teachers in new ways of composing.

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