The National Writing Project's Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, a learning environment expert and education advocate, explains why today's learners are so compelled by the nature of digital-age learning environments, and comments on the changing nature of writing in a digital age.

One of the largest differences between the writing process of the past and today, Elyse says, is the publishing tool set: "I can remember when I was a kid, it used to be that the writer made the words, the writer handed them to a new person--that new person was an editor. That editor was followed by a publisher, a designer, someone who distributed and marketed and circulated the book. Well, all of these professional niches, now, can be done by one person using new digital tools. We can create content, we can design it, we can circulate it, we can promote it. We can do the whole package." (1:11)

Elyse explains that thinking about writing goes deeper than knowing how to use writing tools: "The real core of learning to write and teaching writing isn't actually about the tool--it's actually about what you're going to do with the tool. It's about becoming better with audience, better with purpose, better with what I really want to say clearer..." (5:56) "So we need to be thinking and teaching not for today, but for 10, 20, 50 years from now when [...] we settle into a world that's now been transformed by the Internet and transformed by digital tools." (6:46)

Elyse Eidman-Aadahl is co-director of the National Writing Project and a recipient of the Hollis Caswell Award for Curriculum Studies.

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