Lesson 3.1: Digital Essays


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  • To explore platforms for creating digital essays.
  • To learn ways to enhance essays in Google Docs with multimedia.

Activate Prior Knowledge

Abubble2.png How do your students use technology to produce and publish their essays and stories? How do they-or could they-incorporate multimedia elements to enhance their work?



News flash! The 5-paragraph essay is out... digital storytelling is in!

Read this blog post about creating digital essays, thinking about the power of writing using multimedia.

Digital Essays: Taking Research Writing into the 21st Century Using Buncee

If you missed it, HERE is an example digital research project created using Buncee.

Questions for Reflection:

  • How does the use of multimedia elements make the text more interactive?
  • Can allowing more creative writing projects like this increase student engagement?
  • Has volume or sophistication of writing been sacrificed by the digital format?

You can start simple with digital essays by having your students add multimedia elements to their writing pieces in Google Docs. Teach them when and how to use these elements to enhance the meaning of their work, add creativity and originality, and increase reader engagement. Here are a couple ideas:

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Additional Resources

A lot of writing has been done on the need to move away from "The Five Paragraph Essay." Here are a couple articles to read if you're interested in learning more about there is a call to ditch this traditional form of writing and what we should be inviting our students to do instead.

Kill the 5-Paragraph Essay

My Anti-Five-Paragraph-Essay Five-Paragraph Essay

Alternatives to the Five-Paragraph Essay

Deepen Your Understanding


Now that you have completed lesson 1, revisit your understanding of the learning targets. Consider what new understandings you now have, and develop your initial understandings based on the lesson materials.

What ideas do you have now for how you could "spice up" a writing project using multimedia and/or digital creation platforms?

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