Friday, August 21, 2015

Digital Poetry in the Classroom

Digital poetry is not a new type of genre that has evolved from today's Information Age. Its roots come from the late 1950's advent of early computers. Today, poets, writers, and artists mix literary, visual, and artistic mediums to create poems that are digitalized with online tools. Technology provides the necessary resources and the motivator to engage. Ultimately, language is still the main ingredient in the creation of digital poetry. 

Engaging students in the creation of digital poetry is a process. First, exposure to the genre is important. Introduction to the use of a digital notebook is the next step. A Word document or a Google Docs' folder can be used to hold the drafts of digital compositions. The digital journal or notebook becomes the place to play with words. Photography, sketches, images, and art work add an artistic touch and become another layer to the composition. 

Digital tools provide the background glamour. The "digipoetry" creations above were designed in PicMonkey, a photo-editing tool but there are others that are effective as well. Many educators use Canva. The Waterlogue app changes photographs into a watercolored piece of art as you seen in the creation below. 

Design is an important feature of a digital poem. Composition, color, and font are elements that require trial and error. The steps taken in the design process excite and engage learners in the act of creating. First drafts lead to collaborative conversations and revision. The addition of technology adds a fun aspect to the once dreaded editing and revising stages. 

Appreciation of the fusion of a poetic expression and a striking image becomes part of the noticing and wondering stage. At first, students are asked to engage in a close read of the image. Are the story elements noticed? How do they help make meaning for the reader? Individually, students reflect on the literal and then, focus on the underlying purpose for the creation of the digital poem. Collaboratively in pairs or triads, they view the composition through a different lens, with an artist's eye and then, from a writer's stance. They read the poem together orally to hear how the words flow. They wonder about the emotion evoked and ask questions. Lastly, the students as curators design a showcase of original work and engage in a gallery walk in a simulated art museum.

Through the process of creating digital poems, the world of the classroom becomes the haven for real world activity. Students as young poets, designers, collaborators, and curators engage in the process of creating digital poetry that emphasizes choice and authenticates voice. 

It is my hope that the various global galleries of artistic expressions such as Summer Serenity from 2014 and Summer Splashings that is in the design stage now will be used by teachers to illustrate the power of language in the creation of powerful messages and pieces of writing. 

I thank those who are have already submitted an original digital poem for my newest gallery, Summer Splashings. I would like to remind those who are intending to offer one to send it to my email address or Twitter account by August 31, 2015. 

Now please visit my colleague Catherine Flynn's site, Reading to the Core, for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. 

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