As a high school English teacher, I was really interested in how technology could promote student achievement and engagement in my classroom. As a result, my school’s library media specialist, Lora Cowell, and I embarked on a three-year action research project.  From 2004 to 2007, we developed, implemented, and reiterated a digital poetry curriculum.

As an educator, it was an incredible experience to closely collaborate with my colleague.  Lora’s expertise was instrumental as our students to engage in multimodal composition, and her energy and encouragement helped me develop my digital literacy skills. I really think that if we want to implement technology in schools, we need to value this kind of ongoing, hands-on, collaborative professional development.

I have previously published an article in the International Journal of Learning and Media about this project.  In “‘Just like I have felt’: Multimodal counternarratives in youth-produced digital media,” [PDF], we developed a methodology called multimodal microanalysis that sheds light on the complex ways in which modes operate in young people’s digital productions.

I’m happy to share that Lora and I have just published an article in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, “iPoetry: Creating space for new literacies in the English curriculum” [PDF]. Here, we explore how our approach to teaching digital poetry changed over time. We argue that the iPoetry project enhanced students’ critical engagement, increased their awareness of audience, and encouraged their innovative use of multiple modalities.

We share the digital poem of one of our students, Blair Mishleau. Blair is an incredible young man who will soon graduate with interdisciplinary degrees in journalism and interactive arts and media. He has recently been accepted into Teach for America, and I know that any child would be lucky to be in his classroom!  Here is Blair’s digital poem that we analyze in the article.

Photo by wasimmons

Your Desires by Blair Mishleau from Jen Scott Curwood on Vimeo.

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