— [http://goo.gl/uwmJnI] Multimodal – or ‘modes’ of communication – in order to achieve the communicative functions of the text. Such resources include aspects of speech such as intonation and other vocal characteristics, the semiotic action of other bodily resources such as gesture (face, hand and body) and proximics, as well as products of human technology such as carving, painting, writing, architecture, image and sound recording, and in more contemporary times, interactive computing resources (digital media hardwares and softwares).

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Teaching in a Multi-Modal World: Digital Writing with Digital Kids, by Joe Wood, 2013 ::

The videos and texts presented here are formatted for the exclusive and non-profit purpose of teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL), also called English Language Learning (ELL). BenjaminMadeira.com provides links to other sites on the internet and doesn't host any files itself.

Video: Digital and Creative Writing in the ESL Classroom, intended for nonprofit, educational use / study purposes only. Videoclip for study purposes only

Lesson planning — I plan my ESL lessons while I am cooking dinner for my family.

In the living room my children are playing on their touch pads, very quiet, only now and then a sigh, or a gasp, or a giggle escapes. Meanwhile, I get excited about what I will teach the next day. Then I grab my Note 3 and publish a new tweet and push the Like button on Facebook. As I cut vegetables in the kitchen, I turn on my wireless Bluetooth headphones and watch soccer on a flat-screen TV on the dinning room’s wall.

Between the vegetables, Momio, HayDay.

As I examine trending topics and the Facebook-wall, the plans of a new lesson come as short movies that play in the mind. I draft and redraft the way a lesson might work, who might find it interesting, how I will engage the whole class and individual students, and how I will assess what my students have learned.

As if I were floating off on a cloud.

Planning my lessons while cooking makes me feel the most like a surrealist artist. While I chat I make sure that all the requirements of the National curriculum are followed. Half an hour later I have my ESL lesson well-planned.

No. It is not so easy.

Planning a meaningful lesson takes more time than that of cooking a vegetable soup. Re-conceptualizing literacy. Rethink pedagogy. (Sandretto 6-11)

In the best-case scenario. It is insufficient.

Analog media is perhaps becoming obsolete. Therefore, educators need to embrace new modern literacy pedagogy. Teachers need to incorporate educational technologies into the curricula. We need to learn appropriate skills, strategies, and insights in how to use multimedia in teaching – or ‘modes’ of communication (text, audio, video) – in order to achieve the communicative functions of modern texts (Asselin 1-2).

Educational challenges. Opportunities

In multiple literacies, multimodal, interactive, technology-mediated learning formats give educators both educational challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, learners can be extremely confident about their internet use while lacking evaluative and critical capabilities (Erstad 57-59; Asselin 3). On the other hand, teachers have new opportunities to present multiple representations of content (text, video, audio, images, interactive elements).

Students and teachers interact equally.

ESL teaching is taught either focused on teachers and instruction or on learners and learning. In a student-centered instruction, students learn to collaborate and communicate with one another. Teachers help the students build their writing competence.

Multiliteracies pedagogy: new approaches, new methods of teaching in the ESL classroom.

Designing learning experiences for modern students requires skillful, continuous, professional learning.

Modern educators need to provide students with successive levels of temporary support that help them reach higher levels of comprehension and skill acquisition in “multiliteracies” (DeVoss 29), the ability to utilize technology and multimedia (visual, media, information, technological, digital literacies (Take Credit, lesson 6; Erstad 60; Kalantzis 196-203).

"[a] visual, a sound, a word, a movement, animation, spatial dimensions are resources brought together or in isolation to achieve an effect in texts" (Rowsell 55).

Learning innovation vs the devil.

In a digital world, no classroom will achieve good results without incorporating technology into every aspect of its everyday practices.

"There is [...] nothing new about fears accompanying the emergence of a new communications technology. In the fifteenth century, the arrival of printing was widely perceived by the Church as an invention of Satan" (Crystal 2).

Lesson’s background - Imagination enables scientific, artistic as well as technical creation.

I was given the job to scaffold a group of nine tenth-grade students in a series of short, digital and creative writing in the ESL classroom at lower secondary school in Norway.

These nine tenth-grade students are about to enter secondary studies, but lack writing skills in the ESL classroom. Students will have the opportunity to enroll as active task participants in an intensive eight week Literacy / English project, three hours a week in the classroom but constantly working with assignments online, using platforms such as the online word processing platform Google Docs, Blogger, WordPress, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, PowToon, etc.

The purpose of these eight week intensive ESL immersion classes is to stimulate students' imagination. Utilizing their prior knowledge on technological literacy can provide the inspiration necessary to create texts.

Imagination is the basis of all creative activity; it is undoubtedly an important component of all aspects of cultural life.

ESL students will produce blogs (providing a form of vignette), poems, short-stories, letters, journal entries, digital storytelling, comics, essays, sketch stories, travelogues as part of their creative writing texts.

Creative writing production has a great deal with knowledge acquired without conscious awareness, imagination and by resurrecting traces of earlier impressions (Maley 1).

Designing a lesson - the English subject Curriculum

This lesson aims to help students produce a multimodal assignment related to own interests within journalistic text production. Students progress within digital and creative ESL writing while accomplishing the requirements of the English subject curriculum (LK06). The ESL teacher helps them to “[choose] and use content from different sources in a verifiable way” (LK06).

Students will learn English by using different “working methods and learning strategies.” For this lesson it means “using suitable [...] writing strategies” and “comment on own work.”

Students will “select different digital resources” and utilize them in an independent way. In doing so, students are provided with key elements “to stimulate the joy of writing, to experience greater understanding and to acquire knowledge” (LK06, revised version 2013) within the areas of lexis, orthography, idiomatic structures, paragraphing and grammatical patterns.

Students will “choose and use different [...] writing strategies [...], general vocabulary related to different topics [...], use own notes and different sources as a base for writing” (LK06, revised version 2013). Their ESL teacher will help them to evaluate the credibility of information retrieved from electronic sources.

Before setting this written task

Prior acquired lexis: ESL students had acquired some vocabulary related the topic of this task, which will make a discernible impact when writing/producing their story.

Modeling effective writing: Students had received some models of comparable stories for them to study, written/produced by other students. These examples of work are less expert than those written/produced by professionals but they are “more approachable and often more imitable” (Haynes 52).

Target audiences: ESL students had been informed that their digital and creative written assignment was for specified audiences: suitability for other adolescents, readers/viewers of thirteen or fourteen and up, but it should also have young adult appeal, from around the world surfing on the internet (Take Credit 2015: lesson 6).

By studying comparable works, ESL students can "gain ideas about tone, style, structure [and so on], without either plagiarising or slavishly imitating" (Haynes 52).

Designing a lesson

ESL students will not dread this session / lesson / assignment. Students' minds will not wander, and they will not miss important facts. Modern students will continue on working with their digital and creative assignment even outside the classroom by using laptops, smartphones, flipcams, touchscreen displays and other hand-held devices. It will maximize the effects for ESL learning writers (Sandretto 3).

ESL students are given freedom of expression and are allowed to use their imagination. The ESL teacher will enable learners to use their own devices and services, and also ask for the students’ opinions on what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. Learners perceive the multimodal task as being under their control as opposed to being controlled by the teacher. Teachers need to accept the fact that as long as one has learners, one can learn.

Creative writing gives students room for the cultivation of views, opinions and ideas. Students will utilize social media technologies at each stage of the writing process, which will make collaborative work much flexible to carry on – collaboration without boundaries (DeVoss 23-24). This session has a one-week follow up online assignment.

Objective, organization, materials

a) The objective of the writing: getting the ESL students to write their own stories with a particular goal. While expressing their feelings, thoughts or ideas in an imaginative way they search the web critically. They learn good searching strategies and reflect on online content. Students develop skills in source criticism and their work reaches an authentic audience (Take Credit, lesson 6).

b) Organization: initially individual, later small groups of three. This way, students learn to collaborate with other students, and communication skills will not suffer.

c) Materials: information and communication technologies (ICTs): microcomputers, tablets, iPads, touch pads, cell-phones, cameras, websites, apps, blogs, nings, wikis, social networking.

Designing a lesson, cont’d - Visual effects, unique, prompts

a) From paragraphs to digital stories. Students are expected to write short paragraphs, in no more than 50 words each paragraph, five paragraphs in total, and then publish or present in class a digital news storytelling of their choice based on the paragraphs they have produced. They can draw on experiences from outside the school and use combinations of visual effects and text.

Engaging their minds. Students will use The Imagination Prompt to assist them in starting their news story, and then continue on developing their news story with PowToon or the software they prefer.

There are many news stories available on the internet. However, because the class tests on digital and creativity, it is expected that students present a unique news story while having access to useful software.

Trust the information?

It seems to be a reliable source. As a possible cite source, students are given the webpage WhiteHouse.GeorgeWBush.org which published news satire via fake press releases (Wood, 2001/2009, Web). Can students trust the information they gain access to? Is the source worth using? Can they identify the satirical content? They will learn how to judge the authenticity of specific sites. Many books have been published citing that source.

The main purpose. Suggesting a webpage that resembles an official website is to create discussion with ESL students about information sources and responsibilities when publishing something on the Internet for others to read throughout the world (Take Credit, lesson 6).

By carrying this assignment on, students publish texts online; not only given to their teacher. Students learn to reflect on content. They develop skills in source criticism. They learn good searching strategies. Students reach an authentic worldwide audience.

Designing a lesson, cont’d

ESL students, individually, write down a very rough outline of a news story by combining text and images on their hand-held devices.

ESL students think of a first sentence that leads into the story and eventually to the effect they want the text to create –the ending.

ESL students, individually, start writing their story until they reach the 50 words. Then, they exchange the part of their news story already written with their future partners.

The three of them continue on writing the new news story they have been given and bringing it to one satisfactory complete paragraph in class. Now, they select from their paragraph(s) sentences or phrases they want to use –as movie manuscript– in their digital storytelling.

Outside the ESL classroom, at home or wherever students are, they complete their own news story by exchanging texts and discussing the topic with their partners using SMS, chat, email or their favorite social networking and visual effects.

Their ESL teacher gives all three groups online feedback during and after the assignment process. Being online makes learning more participatory.

Purpose of the activity

There are many approaches to teach writing. Digital and creative writing can be used as an effective language learning tool in a comfortable environment, not in the ‘monotony of the ESL classroom’ (Maley 1).

Digital and creative writing can develop great self-confidence and self-esteem among learners because they can experiment with multimodal learning without pressures. Thus, promoting personal growth, maturation as well as increase linguistic intelligence (Maley 1).

Digital and creative writing can help in language development through playful language engagement while students follow certain rules, such as preventing cyber bullying and reflecting on what to share when they are publishing their work online (Maley 1).

Digital and creative writing can assist ESL learners improve grammar, their way of thinking expressed through the English language, expand their lexis and knowledge on the English language sound system (Maley 1).

Multimodal text: combined words with visual, audio, spatial, and gestural modes to communicate meaning in a richer way.

Purpose, cont’d

Writing the news story in form of digital storytelling will ensure the ESL students are able to express their ideas in an entertaining and reflective manner.

The activity involves a “playful but rigorous work with language” (Morrissey 1). It provides a platform for students to play with vocabulary and improve their skills in source criticism when working with their writing.

Writing the digital news storytelling will mandate the students to express their views articulately, which in turn enhances language learning (Morrissey 1).


Effectiveness. Creative writing. Digital technology in learning is taking shape as teachers realize the effectiveness of different literacies that shift with contexts, texts, and the identities of people using literacy (Anderson 59; Rowsell 55).

Tutor guidance. The ESL teacher. Tutor guidance remains critical. Technological literacy does not ensure that reflection and learning take place. The educator guides students on information, visual and media literacy –how to critically write creative pieces (Take Credit, lesson 6).

Play with language. Construct a product. A major trait of creative language is compliance to play with language (Maley 1).

As students have fun, they investigate a topic and negotiate the way they will create a product to demonstrate their learning.

Developing. Digital skills. This activity is based on student needs and technological competencies, “teaching students overtly based on the skills –technological skills– that they have when they enter the [ESL] [classroom]” (Rowsell 56).

Reflection, cont’d

1. Collaborative digital technology. The teacher selects and introduces the Web applications, The Imagination Prompt and PowToon, which students can use to assist in their digital and creative writing. “Students can reflect closely when they use more than text to make a message. Digital tools allow the story to be zoomed in or out, which places new focus on the story itself” (Cordi 3).

2. How to use it. The ESL teacher informs students about the Web applications and shows the students how to use them.

Most of the students have learned the technical skills of touching, scrolling or clicking, but they need to be taught how to discriminate between non-relevant information.

3. Digital generation. Students (individuals born since the mid-1990s ) make up a larger percentage of the digital generation(s); most of teenagers today posses technological literacy knowledge but they still need digital competence, although they have grown up with technology and are familiar with its technical use (Erstad 58-59, 68-69; Asselin 5-12).

4. Guiding the students. Thus, their teacher will help them regarding how to avoid plagiarism and list their references properly when sharing texts and images (Take Credit, lesson 6). The educator will encourage them to reproduce something they have mastered earlier. Their teacher can also model sentences –sentence starters– if necessary while the students give rise to something new (Take Credit, lesson 7).

Reflection, cont’d

Writing skills. Unlike speaking, listening and reading, most of the ESL learners need more time in acquiring writing skill successfully.

Enjoy writing. Because young individuals are engaged with digital media, they are likely to enjoy writing using digital technology (Erstad 59). Like speech, writing helps to produce the language.

Media literacy. Young people. Digital media has an immediate significance in young people’s learning. This gives literacy in schools a new dimension (Erstad 60).

Writing news story. Thus, by using task starters, such as The Imagination Prompt, students become more interested in improving their language, in this case, when writing a news story as digital storytelling.


The ESL teacher's primary purpose is to help the learners develop their language skills without stress and with fun.

This lesson/assignment aims to provide ESL students with creative ideas for developing literacy skills in-and-out the classroom. Furthermore, it aims to develop source criticism in young people through the exploration of news topics to be shared with abroad societies. Completed short texts in small groups provide the students with the feeling of experiences of success. "The simplest way to ensure that students expect success [understood as] gradual mastery of appropriately challenging objectives [...] is to make sure that they achieve it consistently [...]' (Brophy 66-67).

"Creative writing feeds into more creative reading. [...] [b]y getting the process of creating the text, learners come to instinctively understand how such texts [work], and this make them easier to read" (Maley 1).

Digital and Creative Writing in the ESL Classroom - Official Website - BenjaminMadeira


• [1] Anderson, Daniel, et al. "Integrating Multimodality Into Composition Curricula: Survey Methodology and Results from a CCCC Research Grant." Composition Studies, Volume 34, Number 2, Fall 2006.

• [2] Asselin, Marlene, and Ray Doiron. "Towards a Transformative Pedagogy for School Libraries 2.0. School Libraries Worldwide." Print. Volume 14, Number 2, July 2008, 1‐18.

• [3] Brophy, Jere. Motivating Students to Learn (2nd edition). Michigan State University, 1998.

• [4] Cordi, Kevin D. "My Journey into Digital Storytelling — Teaching Using Digital Means." Adolescent Literacy In Perspective. February 2013. Ohio Dominican University.

• [5] Crystal, David. Language and the Internet. Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-521-80212-1

• [6] DeVoss, Danielle Nicole, ‎Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Troy Hicks. Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments. US National Writing Project. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

• [7] Erstad, Ola. "Educating the digital generation: Exploring media literacy for the 21st Century." Print. Journal of Digital Literacy 5.1(2010): 56-72.

• [8] Haynes, Anthony. 100 ideas for lesson planning. The Professional and Higher Partnership (2007). Print. ISBN 9780826483089

• [9] Kalantzis, Mary, and Bill Cope. "Language Education and Multiliteracies." Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 2nd Edition, Volume1: Language Policy and Political Issues in Education, 195–211. 2008.

• [10] KUF. 1994. Reform 94. ‘Videregående Opplæring’. [‘Reform of the Structure and Content of Upper Secondary Education.’] Oslo, Norway: Kirke-, utdannings- og forskningsdepartementet.

• [11] KUF. 1996. ‘Læreplanverket for Den 10-Årige Grunnskolen’. L97 [‘Curriculum for the 10-Year Compulsory School in Norway.’]. Oslo, Norway: Kirke-, utdannings- og forskningsdepartementet.

• [12] LK06, ‘English subject curriculum,’ revised version (Aug. 2013); The Norwegian LK06, in English; The Norwegian LK06, in Norwegian. Utdanningsdirektoratet (Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research).

• [13] Maley, Alan. "Creative writing for language learners (and teachers)." BBC, Dec. 2009. Web. March 2015. teachingenglish.org.uk/article/creative-writing-language-learners-teachers.

• [14] Morrissey, Franz Andres. "Write on! Creative writing as language practice, BBC, British Council." Nov. 2002. Web. March 2015. www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/write-creative-writing-language-practice.

• [15] Rowsell, Jennifer, and Maureen Walsh. "Rethinking Literacy Education in New Times: Multimodality, Multiliteracies, & New Literacies." Brock Education, Volume 21, No. 1, Fall 2011, 53-62. Print.

• [16] Sandretto, Susan, and Jane Tilson. "Reconceptualising literacy: Critical multiliteracies for “new times.” " University of Otago College of Education (2008). Print.

• [17] Wooden, John. Creator of the 'Officious George W. Bush webpage,‘ 2001/2009. Web. March 2015. www.georgewbush.org

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Youtube Playlist: Digital and Creative Writing in the ESL Classroom ::

Comentario » Comments »»» Blogger Disqus

  1. Feedback / professor's comments:

    Interesting and inspiring writing task – digital, creative writing suitable for own students:

    The task seems suitable for your described group of students, and it would enable them to use several different digital media in the writing process.

    Description of purpose and organization:

    You describe well how you would proceed with this task, giving a clear outline of the pupils’ work.

    Discussion of why, with references to online lessons/course material:

    You refer to several of the set texts in your discussion of why, and you interact with them in a way that makes it clear that you have understood the themes they are discussing.

    Explanation and justification of own role as an active writing teacher:

    You describe your role well, and give excellent reasons for why this is a good approach to digital, creative writing as a teacher.

    Proper use of sources/list of references:

    Your use of references is impeccable in this assignment. Well done!

    Length (approx. 1 000 words):

    The format of your assignment makes it difficult to judge the length of your essay. It is definitely not too short.

    Written language competence:

    You communicate efficiently, and you are very easy to understand.

    Other comments:

    It is very brave to choose this kind of format for an obligatory assignment. In this case, it worked. The assignment is approved.


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