• Video interview with Naomi Silver, author of Developing Writers chapter eight, discussing the applications of her chapter for writing instructors.

Transcript

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    My name's Naomi Silver and

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    I'm the Associate Director at
    the Sweetland Center for Writing.

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    And I've been working for quite a while,
    multi-model writing and digital writing.

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    Writers had to really rethink what
    they understood writing to mean.

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    Or composing,
    if we wanna speak more broadly.

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    To think about writing or composition as

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    a communication of a message
    in whatever medium or

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    mode is most effective to convey the mean,

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    the purpose,
    the exigency of that piece of writing.

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    That could take a number
    of different forms.

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    So may be that you would have
    a variety of choices as a writer.

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    That maybe a video would be a good
    way to convey the argument or

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    the idea that you want to convey, but the
    reason that would be a good idea would be

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    because there are visual aspects to

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    that message or that communication,
    that argument, that are necessary.

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    One other thing that I found
    surprising was in a sense, and

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    maybe this is kind of a strong word, but

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    in a sense how transformative
    they would say things like, I

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    had to completely rethink what I was doing
    sort of how I am as a writer has changed.

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    I think instructors need to help students
    understand that the design elements

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    of the multimodal work they're doing
    need to be essential to the argument.

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    That they're not extra or
    add-ons that they're there for

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    a really specific reason and
    that the student also.

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    So helping the student to be able to make
    those design choices in the rhetorically

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    informed way.

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    The other thing I would say to
    instructors is that, we discovered too,

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    that development in writing in different
    modes often precedes unevenly,

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    so students who might be very
    strong alphabetic writers.

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    They might write very well in
    a particular disciplinary genre.

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    May not be very good at translating
    that genre into a multimodal form.

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    And helping students in some ways to
    think more rhetorically about the choices

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    they're making may also help
    them to even out that growth.

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    There have been sort of new things that
    have developed with different kinds

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    of focuses, but really nothing on
    the development of writers as yeah,

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    as multimodal composers,
    as digital composers, and

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    how that development might take place.

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    And so I think that is maybe
    the big thing that this chapter and

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    this book as a whole can kind
    of add that we have students,

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    we were able to look at
    students creating digital and

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    multimodal writing over a period of time,
    and really explicitly.

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    And I don't think there is
    any research that does this.

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    We were able to compare

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    the Gateway electronic portfolios
    they created with the Capstone

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    electronic portfolios they created and
    really see how those writers had changed.

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    And so, yeah.

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    I think that's what is
    added through this work.

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    I think one thing the website does, or

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    another thing the website does,

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    is to show why multimodal
    writing is important

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    in our digital age,
    to put it in big terms.

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    It's a form of composition that
    is really necessary today.

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    That if you are only thinking of writing,
    or composition,

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    as words on a page then you're really
    missing out on a lot of opportunities

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    to reach important audiences and
    to make arguments in effective ways.

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    So I think for policy makers,

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    I mean I guess it depends on which
    ones we're talking about, but

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    say we're talking about school
    administrators or district administrators,

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    school district administrators or
    presidents of universities that,

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    Making it possible for
    digital rhetorical instruction to

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    become part of the regular
    curriculum is really important.

Interview with Naomi Silver: For Instructors

From Developing Writers in Higher Education: A Longitudinal Study by Anne Ruggles Gere, Editor

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