Washtenaw ISD

October 26, 2017, 8:30 to 3:30
Teaching and Writing Argument in a Digital World

What came up in our conversations:

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Every day, our students are inundated by information – as well as opinions and misinformation – on their devices. These digital texts influence what they buy, who they vote for, and what they believe about themselves and their world. Crafting and analyzing arguments in a digital world could be our greatest possibility to improve dialogue across cultures and continents... or it could contribute to bitter divides. In this workshop, we will draw from real world texts and samples of student work to share a wealth of insights and practical strategies in teaching students the logic of argument. Whether arguments are streaming in through a Twitter feed, a Facebook wall, viral videos, internet memes, or links to other blogs or websites, we will explore how to engage with and create digital arguments.

Opening Activity

Takeaways: Being MINDFUL as Readers and Writers

  • Reading articles like this takes time, so how do we help them think about clicking, saving, opening tabs, etc.
  • Connecting them to their curiosity, connecting to another source that counters/contrasts
  • Talking more about what words are used as links, where those links go, why they go there, the effect on the target audience
  • Instilling the idea of inquiry, and helping them generate more questions
  • How can we monitor our own biases and identifying the lens (the skeptic, the enthusiast, etc)
  • Framework and mindset: consider your audience and know what kind of evidence they respect
  • Take the MINDFUL acronym and link to some definitions and strategies to use
  • Talk with the students -- is this something that you would share?

Jigsawing the Book

  • Chapter 1: The Nature of Argument in a Digital World
  • Chapter 2: Analyzing Arguments that are Born Digital
  • Chapter 3: The Moves of Argument in Web-based Text
  • Chapter 4: The Moves of Argument in Infographics
  • Chapter 5: The Moves of Argument in Video
  • Chapter 6: The Moves of Argument in Social Media
  • Chapter 7: Coaching Students' Work with Digital Arguments

Options for our day

  • Crafting infographics with Easly, Infogram or Piktochart
  • Crafting web-based arguments with Adobe Spark
  • Crafting a StoryMap, Timeline, or other projects from Knight Lab (Tutorial)
    • Earth Science: Pangea/continental drift
    • History: Custer's Last Stand with opposing viewpoints in the one location
    • Science: Analyzing cap and trade, pollution, polluters, rain forests
    • Vaccination and disease rates
    • Confederate monuments and times they were constructed (Jim Crow, Civil Rights)
    • Travel logs: foreign language students
  • Crafting a video argument with WeVideo or Adobe Spark
  • Crafting a visual argument with Snapchat or Instagram

End of the Day Thoughts

  • Thinking about all the angles we can use for argument/persuasion
  • Choose the technology that will enhance the learning goals, connect to our existing learning targets
  • Technology can enhance and engage the experience; provide a different way to showcase their writing
  • Spend more time writing the argument and then layer in the tech (both/and)

Composing a Story Map

  • Sequence
  • Analyze
  • Evaluate
  • Select
  • Elaborate
  • Coordinate
  • Choose
  • Inferring
  • Hypothesizing


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