From “Re-making middle school” on the National Writing Project’s Digital Is:

The basic tenets of democratizing composition are these:

  • Writing is one form of composition or making, tantamount to the rest.
  • All modes of composition are valid and valuable methods of expression.
  • All modes of composition benefit from design thinking, rapid prototyping (a.k.a. repeated failure), iteration, and user feedback.
  • The monopoly of text in schools impoverishes student learning, self-expression, and educators’ understandings of their students.
  • Students and teachers should compose and make in response to learning.
  • Composing and making should be fun or otherwise deeply fulfilling in a personally meaningful way to students and teachers.
  • To borrow from the National Writing Project (NWP), teachers should compose and make with their students.
  • User feedback determines whether or not a composition or product works and fulfills a need; grades are unnecessary, superfluous, and harmful to the work of composition and making.

Moreover, democratizing composition is more than purchasing enough devices or apps to ensure equitable access to technology. Democratizing composition is about opening access to expression and holding teachers accountable for finding and championing student voices, regardless of whether or not those voices are primarily textual or verbal.