Teacher Consultant

Kevin Hodgson

Southampton, Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts Writing Project

Educator Profile

Kevin Hodgson teaches sixth grade in Southampton, Massachusetts, and is the technology liaison with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. Kevin writes and reflects at his weblog, Kevin’s Meandering Mind, and also uses a weblog with his students at The Electronic Pencil. His published works include “Bringing the World to My Doorstep: A Teacher’s Blog–Reading Habits” (2008) and “NWP Speaks: 30 Years of Writing Project Voices,” The Voice, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2005.

Digital Storytelling Projects

I have worked with my students on a variety of technology integration projects that include: digital picture books, Claymation stop-motion movies (collaboration with younger students), hypertext poems, weblogs, and podcasting.

 As a member of the National Writing Project, I have organized (unofficially) a Collaborative ABC Movie Project with more than a dozen teachers from around the world. We all created short digital stories based on letters of the alphabet and then used blogs, wikis, and online video sites to share our videos, reflect on the experience, and collaborate together.

At my Writing Project site, I have also led workshops around using video in the classroom, blogging, Claymation, podcasting, and digital picture books. Recently, I led a Saturday conference on Technology Across the Curriculum to investigate the ways that writing and technology can enhance various curricular areas, such as math and science.

I view technology as another resource to engage my students in their writing process. I believe that the online medium, in particular, opens up a door to a new sense of audience for my students as writers. In addition, the multiple means of expression (writing, audio, video, etc.) tap into a creative strand that engages my students in interesting ways.

As a writer and explorer of new technologies myself, I experiment and use the tools first as a practitioner, and then consider whether the technology has meaning in my classroom. I try, as best as I can, to resist the urge to do something just because it is “cool.”

What I love most about the Web 2.0 world is the possibilities for collaboration with other teachers and with other classes. I utilize the technology to broaden my own experiences and then, hopefully, the experiences of my students.

 But for my students, the technology is something that interests them in a very different way from the traditional tools. They love to create and they love to share, and they love how they have some freedom to explore technology in ways they have not been exposed to before. They take great pride in making a Claymation movie that can be shown to the entire school and, via the web, the world. They feel a sense of accomplishment when they share their digital picture books and get compliments from other students.

For my colleagues, there is a growing sense of technology helping to foster a sense of community. Through blogs, and social networks, more and more teachers are learning from each other and also sharing their knowledge. The value is in the connections being made, whatever the platform.

Click here to sample digital stories from Kevin Hodgson's students.