Monday, December 5, 2016

how the maker movement can help create writers

I really enjoyed the video and reading paired together this week, because I think it's completely important and relevant in the next steps toward teaching writing. I think this is that "fourth wave" that Yancey reflects on, the next movement in writing assessment in education. While the third wave is still portfolio-based and tries to be more creative, I think that if writing assessment moves toward that DIY-ideology that the DML webinar discusses, it will work a lot better for students. If students gain more control over their work in both a creative and multimodal context, writing can become more individualized and accessible to a variety of students.

It's significant to recognize the maker movement as something that can also be applied to the teaching of writing, and is not just exclusive to engineers or people who have "left-sided" brains. If we create makerspaces that cater toward developing writing skills, such as including kinesthetic methods of teaching writing instead of all just visual or auditory, it appeals to another type of thinker. That way, writing can reach out toward a multitude of students and instill confidence in people who think they inherently "are not good writers" - there should be no such thing. Learning comes to people a variety of ways, and makerspaces and DIY projects help include that neurodiversity.

Consequently, besides just helping develop the student as a writer, a DIY approach can be applied to writing assessments in school. Elyse Eidman-Aadahl mentions that writing assessments are completely formulaic and "not natural" environment for cultivating writing. Thus, if the next wave of writing assessment transforms into a process that encourages a more "studio" atmosphere, it is ultimately better for the student. That way, the student becomes more involved in their writing: it becomes a subject they are interested in, and this interest will hopefully breed the potential for their writing project to reach an actual audience. It all goes back to this culture of attribution, and if students are creating, are making, there's a feeling of success and self-worth by adding their voice in an ongoing or completely new conversation.

In that sense, writing assessments have the potential to be more than just a dreaded thing that a student has to "pass." Instead, it can become an opportunity for students to express and explore themselves and their writing and subjects that interest them, in order to further their personal and academic curiosities and abilities.

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