Teaching digital writing in secondary English

The challenge

In a digital world the nature of writing is changing. This project investigates how secondary English teachers are conceptualising and teaching digital writing, and how they perceive this work can be enhanced to create more engaged and empowered students, workers and citizens. The study contextualises contemporary digital writing pedagogy in the history of English teaching and provides insights into how teachers respond to demands for 21st century literacies. The project, of both national and international significance, will contribute to policy, professional learning and teacher education, and shape capacity for the education of adept writers for digital futures.

Project overview

The project involves:

  • Setting up national and academic reference groups.
  • A national survey of English teachers.
    Working with the National Textbook Archive, located at Deakin University, to explore how the teaching of digital writing has evolved since the early 1990s.
  • Developing and running digital writing labs in three Victorian schools, collaboratively with teachers.
  • Analysing data collected in this process.
    Sharing findings to inform education policy and curriculum, teacher education, professional development and to enrich and update classroom teaching.


The project has two main objectives:

  1. Discover new knowledge about how digital writing is currently being conceptualised and taught in Australian secondary English, in the context of the history of writing pedagogy.
  2. Enhance understandings of how teachers perceive their capacity to teach digital writing can be expanded, as they negotiate requirements of standardised testing, imperatives for 21st century literacies and their own professional identities and commitments.

The project aims to enhance the teaching of writing and create more capacity for teachers to teach more contemporary and relevant forms of writing.

Project team

Associate Professor Lucinda McKnight

Dr McKnight will also work with a doctoral student and research assistant attached to the study.


ARC DECRA – Discovery Early Career Researcher Award





More information

Teaching Digital Writing project website

Lucinda McKnight (2022) Writing for our (digital) lives: war, social media and the urgent need to update how we teach English, The Conversation, May 24, 2022.


digital learning, English, literacy, 21st Century literacies, writing