Promoting writing through technology during study abroad

Pritchard, R. J., Oliver, K. M., & Morrow, D.

In summer 2011, college of education faculty in the United States and New Zealand partnered to offer an innovative study abroad course at the University of Surrey, England, titled “Writing and Technology.” Twenty-two kindergarten through college teachers, across content areas, engaged in online and face-to-face activities before the two weeks in England, and while in England, they went on excursions to literary and historical sites and captured these experiences in multi-modal forms using writing and digital tools. They wrote in three major modes (i.e., expressive, expository, and poetic), based on the discourse scheme of James Moffett (1968, 1992), and employed numerous Web-based tools to elaborate and present their written work (e.g., Google Docs and Google Maps, Tabblo, Prezi, Animoto, Nota, Glogster, ToonDoo, Voicethread, etc.). Data collected before, during, and after the course determined participants’ global perspectives, attitudes and confidence as writers, and competence in using digital tools to transform their writing into multimedia products. Findings indicate overall success in their ability to reflect on their international experiences through writing and multimedia projects. Further, the majority realized that writing across modes using traditional text forms, and repurposing multimedia tools to expand written texts, had reciprocal impact. As noted by Stein (2008), “in shifts across modes, the meanings of entities change and are transformed” (p. 874).
In tandem, writing and technology afforded participants a broad and full appreciation of the rich culture in which they were immersed. We highly recommend that study abroad courses incorporate both substantial writing and technology, to exploit the capabilities of each to enhance the content and to make meaning of the experience of living and learning in another culture.

For data and examples refer to the 2013 Integrating Writing and Technology website:

Pritchard, R. J., Oliver, K. M., & Morrow, D. (2013). Promoting writing through technology during study abroad. The International Journal of literacies, 19.

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