In Writing Workshop, I have long downplayed the importance of publishing. My work with children has always emphasized what writers do to get words down on paper, how writers change their words and grow their ideas. I’ve always felt that people who write for a living don’t publish everything, so why should we have the expectation that our young writers publish absolutely everything?
These days, I find myself rethinking the importance of publishing. At the New York State Reading Association conference that I attended this past weekend, I saw Kay Gormley and Peter McDermott from the Sage Colleges present on using technology in the classroom. I watched as they demonstrated how children could publish their writing on websites like StoryJumper and Blabberize. As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder how these programs would motivate reluctant writers to want to write more. And then, I realized. Digital savvy, polished end products wouldn’t motivate only reluctant writers, they would make ALL children want to write to the finish. Not only that, it might make them value the whole process differently. I know I write differently when I know people will see my end product.
Kay and Peter definitely left me thinking hard about the importance of integrating digital technology into our literacy frameworks. The possibilities are endless and will surely better prepare children for our fast-paced, technology-driven world.