National Writing Project

Technology Initiative Project

Focus On Professional Development for Digital Writing

Between 2004–2007, the Technology Initiative supported thirteen writing project sites—all with a history in professional development work in technology—with grant awards to study, refine, and expand their models for professional development, with a focus on using technology in support of writing and learning across the curriculum. Seven additional sites were awarded capacity building grants to build local leadership capacity.

Twenty Participating Sites

Alaska Writing Project, Alaska

The Alaska State Writing Consortium (ASWC) is engaging teachers across the curriculum in collaborative learning projects to support the wise integration of technology throughout the state. Across the state, ASWC teacher-consultants are leading face-to-face and virtual open institutes with a focus on learning and composing in new media. Courses offered include, for example, Weblogs Across the Curriculum, Digital Storytelling Online, and Writing Matters. A vital component of this work is the sharing of student work; another important aspect is the opportunity teachers have to synthesize their own reflections and scholarship. The sharing and synthesis have been supported in a variety of ways throughout the year through the development of professional digital portfolios, through sharing at conferences across the state, and, most recently, through the development of collaborative student/teacher forums.

Bay Area Writing Project, California

The Bay Area Writing Project (BAWP) is deepening its focus on integrating technology across the curriculum and on studying how technology expands definitions of literacy to include the ability to decode, analyze, and interpret visual as well as written texts. BAWP’s strategy for this work is to develop partnerships with local organizations, including foundations, offices of education, and state-funded technology networks. One partnership has supported BAWP teachers in developing teaching approaches in the digital arts and in reflecting on their key questions about learning and visual literacy through summer institutes, through developing a range of curriculum projects in their classrooms, and through creating professional development opportunities for colleagues in their local school communities. Teacher-consultants are also developing and leading open institute offerings and building on the professional development models established at lead Technology Initiative schools.

Northern California Writing Project, California

This capacity-building minigrant supports an invitational advanced institute for teacher-consultants on the use of technology both in the classroom and in professional development. Led by the site’s technology liaison and supported by teacher-consultants who have already developed technology-rich classroom practices, this advanced institute, which takes place over a series of Saturdays, focuses on the use of established and emerging technologies in teachers’ own writing and professional lives. The overarching goal is to support teacher-consultants interested in determining effective practices in the teaching of writing in a technological context. The anticipated outcome is an expansion of the site’s leadership capacity—particularly as it relates to professional development—for future work in using technology for writing.

San Diego Area Writing Project, California

This capacity-building minigrant supports an advanced mini-institute on technology and an academic-year study group focused on the use of technology and digital tools in the teaching of writing in high-priority schools within the site’s service area. The specific goals are to increase both access to and the relevance of San Diego Area Writing Project programs to teachers and students, and to increase the site’s capacity to develop and offer inservice programs on using digital tools for writing and learning.

National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida

Funded by a capacity-building minigrant, this project, titled Building Capacity Toward Technology Integration, the National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast University will provide a series of workshops in which participants learn skills and develop competencies in various technologies to support the teaching of writing. Asynchronous communication tools will be used to support networking among participants to further community development and leadership at the site.

Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project, Georgia

Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project (KMWP) teachers are conducting ongoing inquiry into their classroom practices involving technology, writing, and learning. They collaborate with their colleagues to share these inquiries, documenting their ongoing work and collecting and discussing research in the field. Through this collaborative process and regular face-to-face meetings, KMWP teachers have identified and explored three strands for their tech-integrated work: website redesign and evolution ( ), ongoing and supported teacher inquiry research, and the development and implementation of teacher-centered workshops for area teachers.

University of Maine Writing Project, Maine

As part of their local technology initiative project, teachers from the University of Maine Writing Project have been experimenting with new technologies in their classrooms and inquiring into practices that support literacy learning across the content areas. Through this work they have formed the Literacy through Technology Team, a team that continues to meet to share practice, mentor colleagues, and support the writing project in integrating this work throughout its core programming. Additionally, the Literacy through Technology team develops and offers classroom-based literacy workshops to benefit the growing number of educators in Maine who are drawing upon ready access to technology through the state-run Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

Western Massachusetts Writing Project, Massachusetts

The Western Massachusetts Writing Project’s technology initiative project, Making Connections: Technology, Writing, and Community, is designed to help teachers tap into the power of technology to improve writing instruction and to create online learning communities for themselves and their students. Moving into its third year, the project is being revamped to establish a viable infrastructure of technology support networks and professional development opportunities for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project (WMWP) and surrounding school districts through the establishment of a new WMWP Technology Team. The emphasis of the team is on using technology and writing across the various content areas, including science and math, and a Technology Across the Curriculum Conference is being held in Spring 2008 at a local school site. The Making Connections project and the work of the Technology Team will also be the foundational component for the development of a university-based course for teachers.

Red Cedar Writing Project, Michigan

Red Cedar Writing Project (RCWP) is launching a series of projects that engage students and teachers in inquiries about community and technology education. Teachers across the curriculum explore ways to combine writing with a range of new technologies in order to help students develop online and multimedia learning projects, including digital portfolios; an online high school writing center; teacher and student analysis of digital imagery, visual literacy, and public policy in urban schools; a project engaging students in using new technologies within a community inquiry; and the co-development of an interactive writing-centered gaming program. To further this work, teacher-leaders from these projects are offering technology workshops and creating opportunities to share teacher research projects. RCWP is also researching, developing, and disseminating digital resources that emerge from these projects, in which the university’s writing center is a partner.

Third Coast Writing Project, Michigan

The Third Coast Writing Project’s (TCWP) digital leadership team is continuing its exploration of multimedia technology for developing and using digital stories. The team will continue to offer week-long summer workshops exploring multimedia storytelling, school-based professional development programs focusing on this work, and support opportunities for classroom inquiry among a larger group of TCWP teacher-consultants who are integrating digital storytelling into their classrooms. Additionally, the digital leadership team is collecting data on the use of digital storytelling in classrooms in order to develop and publish classroom and professional development resources for a larger teaching community.

Prairie Lands Writing Project, Missouri

The Prairie Lands Writing Project (PLWP) has expanded the professional learning communities throughout its technology initiative program by offering school-based workshops, by expanding its “Writing and Technology in the Content Areas” institute for teachers, by creating opportunities for site leaders to increase their own learning through a teacher inquiry community, and by developing a cadre of technology mentors to work with area preservice teachers. Additionally, PLWP has been working strategically to further develop its online presence in order to promulgate the site’s core values to its various audiences and teacher communities. As part of a new website, a cadre of PLWP teacher-consultant technophiles are developing TechKnowFiles, online “Best Practice” lessons for teaching effectively with a technology tool.

Nebraska Writing Project, Nebraska

This capacity-building minigrant supports a teacher research team of eight teacher-consultants who will develop and disseminate technology-based projects in their classrooms during the 2005–2006 school year. These teachers will then lead summer technology-based project work for the site and also support the site’s leadership team in thinking about new technologies and how they impact the site’s and teachers’ work.

New York City Writing Project, New York

The New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) is finding multiple ways to help more teachers use technology as an integral part of their teaching. For several years information and communication technology has been the focus of inquiry, experimentation, play, and learning in the NYCWP, leading to a strong group of early adopters of new technologies. These early adopters are now supporting a group of leaders, consultants, curriculum coaches, and teachers who meet regularly to inquire into new media tools, such as weblogs, that have the potential to change the ways in which students learn and to improve how reading and writing are taught. This work supports NYCWP teacher-leaders in trying new tools, developing support communities for new ways of working, exploring the use of weblog tools for professional practice, and documenting their practice for a widening audience of educators.

UNC Charlotte Writing Project, North Carolina

The UNC Charlotte Writing Project (UNCCWP) is exploring the intersections of technology and literacy with area teachers by offering a fall “A Taste of Tech” writing conference on integrating technology into the teaching of English / language arts and by leading demonstration workshops in area schools. UNCCWP teacher-consultants will continue to increase their own capacity to lead this work through the continued development of their inquiry community. Within this community, teachers are supported in videotaping their professional development offerings and documenting their classroom practices for reflection and sharing with colleagues.

Oregon WP at Pacific University, Oregon

The Oregon Writing Project at the University of Oregon’s Technology Enrichment for Teacher-Consultants project is focused on improving writing instruction for students in schools across the state by increasing both teacher leadership and documented classroom experiences integrating technology into writing instruction. A selected set of technology-using teacher-consultants from across the state will engage in online professional development designed to heighten their skill levels and build a group conversation around using technology to teach writing. These “Tech TCs” are then supported to develop their own lessons into workshops and online modules that support professional development work throughout Oregon, both in face-to-face workshops and through distance learning.

Philadelphia Writing Project, Pennsylvania

This capacity-building minigrant supports Philadelphia Writing Project teachers in expanding and sustaining their explorations of storytelling and multimedia as a means to teach writing in the classroom. PhilWP TCs, who have already been introduced to new technologies as well as methodologies for storytelling through the use of multiple modalities, will be supported in developing this work in their classrooms. They will closely document this work and then collaborate with colleagues to share the different ways that this kind of storytelling can be brought into a range of classrooms and curricula.

Dakota Writing Project, South Dakota

This capacity-building minigrant supports an electronic writing marathon for Dakota Writing Project teacher-consultants. In this marathon, participants will explore and write in a different online technology environment each week, discuss their experiences in these environments, and reflect on how these environments might improve writing, learning, and teaching in their classrooms. Participants will then be asked to develop an inquiry question and apply what they’ve learned during the marathon to their classroom situations, documenting their progress.

Sabal Palms Writing Project, Texas

This project, funded by a capacity-building minigrant, supports teacher-consultants in using newer technologies in the teaching of reading and writing, especially to English language learners. Through a series of workshops in a variety of technology applications that support writing in the classroom, participants will gain the knowledge and skills to use the applications in their teaching of writing. These teachers will then be mentored and encouraged to become part of a cadre of professional development providers offering training in the use of technology to support writing in the classroom.

Central Washington Writing Project, Washington

The Central Washington Writing Project (CWWP) has expanded its work with teachers to support them in integrating writing-to-learn into the content areas, with a focus on how technology can support this work. The site is offering ongoing professional development opportunities for social studies teachers as they implement new statewide assessments. This project guides teacher-participants in research-based reading and writing strategies, supports them in teaching students to use technology to conduct research and present their learning, and builds opportunities for teachers to collaborate as they make sense of the state assessments in their classrooms. The teachers involved in this project are developing new units of study while also engaging in ongoing inquiry into their work, with the goal of sharing their experience and their documentation with other social studies and writing teachers in the Central Washington area.

Marshall University Writing Project, West Virginia

Building on several years of work using digital technologies to support writing and learning, the Marshall University Writing Project (MUWP) is engaged in a multifaceted effort with local teachers that centers on the Digital Literacy Initiative. The primary objectives of the Digital Literacy Initiative are to increase the number of digitally literate teachers in local schools through professional development and to build leadership capacity at the local writing project site in order to sustain these efforts. This project began with MUWP teacher-leaders exploring digital literacy in their classrooms while also constructing and refining support structures to help themselves and their colleagues develop this work, and has grown into a series of opportunities including an expanded set of summer programs, school-based professional development series, and integration of a digital literacy focus into the core work at the site.


For more information, contact Christina Cantrill at
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