Wondering About Hyperlinked Writing

Almost 4 years ago, I wrote a post on Langwitches titled Teaching Hyperlinked Writing and Reading. 4 years later, many (most?) teachers have not heard, let alone are teaching and coaching their students in the use of hyperlinked writing. The word “hyperlinked” is still being underlined in red as I am typing the word, indicating that it must be somehow misspelled or that the word does not exist.

Wes Fryer, in his post The Ethic of the Link, Hyperlinked Writing and Mainstream Media Link Hangups, states that

Hyperlinked writing is one of the most important topics we can address, share, and encourage educators to learn ABOUT and how to DO personally today.”

I agree with Wes and feel that there is very little headway being made to address the issue in Professional Development and in the classroom with our students. Again, I believe that teachers can’t teach, model and coach their students in something they have little or no experience in.

What are we waiting for? Linked reading and writing is not going away…These are skills our students need…

Bud Hunt, in a post titled Ruminations on Implications: Notes from the Thesis, also notices, in the case of classroom and student blogs, that there is merely a “substitution” of the traditional writing going on. His concern is that we are simply replacing traditional writing with digital writing without tapping into the transformational potential it holds.

The kind of writing that’s being asked of students in these spaces?  Well, it’s interesting – I can break it down into three types – daily summaries, written collectively by elementary school classes; reflective essays about various topics; and responses to teacher questions.  Lots of it is writing that doesn’t require a blog.  And it’s writing that involves very, very, very little source material.  Very few quotes.  Very few links.  And the links, when they’re present, are not  embedded in the text.  They lie naked and open in the text.  And that seems problematic to me

In another post, Thinking ’bout Linking, Bud wonders about

teaching “blogging” vs. “writing with blogs

I think Bud makes a very important distinction here. There is a difference between the two which expresses beautifully the next step I want to take in helping students become quality blog writers. It is not about substituting traditional writing, but it is about amplifying it.

I am asking:

How do we help bring hyperlinked writing (and reading) as an important genre into the classroom?

I had a brief interaction with Terry Heick on Twitter (please read in reverse order) and really was thankful for the perspective he shared.

Terry calls it “layered writing”, I have heard it called

  • connected writing
  • linked writing
  • hyperlinked writing
  • non-linear writing

and I would like to add:

  • amplified writing

Please share your experience with hyperlinked writing.

  • Any thoughts on how you feel about it?
  • Are the links distracting to you?
  • Do links empower you as the writer and reader of the digital text?
  • Do no links in a digital text make you cringe?
  • Feel restricted?
  • How have you incorporated hyperlinked writing int your classroom?
  • How are your students learning to express themselves via linked writing?
  • Does linking come natural to you/them?

We can create a hyperlinked context around “Teaching Hyperlinked Writing,  if you leave a comment with a link on this post or leave a pingback from a reflection on your own blog or resources you have found valuable.

Now…on from the wondering, theory and resources…to the practice in the classroom. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post where I share what I learned with and from students.

Further Resources: