National Writing Project

What Is Digital Writing and Why Does It Matter?

New Book Defines Digital Literacy, Offers Guidance for Educators and Policymakers

For Immediate Release


BERKELEY, CA, October 25, 2010 — In today's world of texting, tweeting, blogging, and social networking, young people are writing more than ever. Students are faced with learning multiple new literacies to succeed in our fast-paced, information-rich world, yet most schools have not caught up with the digital reality that students live in daily.

Because Digital Writing Matters, a new book from the National Writing Project (NWP), looks at what educators, parents, and policymakers can do to help schools meet the challenges of new digital literacies and to equip students with the technology-related communication skills they need to thrive in school and in the global workplace.

"Today's young people are using a range of digital tools to compose and create in new and exciting ways," said Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project. "It is a game-changing moment for teachers of writing. The very notion of what it means to write is shifting, and educators are faced with adapting their teaching practices to integrate new technologies while redefining writing and learning for the 21st century."

Because Digital Writing Matters describes how

  • Digital writing is more than just a skill; it is a means of interfacing with ideas and with the world, a mode of thinking and expressing in all grades and disciplines.
  • Digital writing can help students develop critical thinking skills and support learning across all subject areas.
  • Educators, community members, and policymakers must work together to promote technology development in schools to create learning environments that support digital literacy.

The authors stress that writing classrooms will need to embrace tools, strategies, and skills beyond those that traditional classrooms required. Through stories, examples, and vignettes, Because Digital Writing Matters illustrates how cutting-edge educators have successfully used digital writing tools in diverse classroom and school settings to enrich learning and provide meaningful writing experiences for students at all grade levels. The book offers practical solutions and models for educators and policymakers involved in planning, implementing, and assessing digital writing initiatives and writing programs.

Since the early 1990s, National Writing Project teacher-leaders have been at the forefront of exploring the implications of new digital tools for the teaching of writing. Because Digital Writing Matters is part of NWP's ongoing national effort to create and disseminate resources and learning opportunities for educators as they develop effective strategies for teaching and improving new media literacies.

Because Digital Writing Matters, a companion to NWP's popular 2003 book Because Writing Matters, is published by Jossey-Bass, and will be available in early November 2010. To learn more about the book, or to order a copy, visit

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its network of more than 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NWP develops the leadership, programs and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit

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