Preparing for its 17th year, the UCF College of Education and Human Performance’s Annual Literacy Symposium is a unique opportunity for practicing teachers and teacher candidates to stay up to date on the latest developments and current conventions in literacy education.

Tackling a new theme each year, the Literacy Symposium centers sessions and keynote presentations around the latest findings and practices in literacy education. This year is no different, with a focus on writing in the 21st century.

From digital tools to assessments, the needs and requirements of writing and writing instruction are shifting. The goal of the upcoming Literacy Symposium is to help educators better understand these changing outlets, requirements, and methods in order to prepare students for the shifting literacy landscape.

“Student preparation for 21st century learning requires a focused, enhanced ability to learn, to read, and to write both digitally and in print for life, and not only for assessment purposes,” Dr. Vicky Zygouris-Coe, event organizer and professor of reading education, tells us. “Such preparation as reflected in new educational standards also calls for new models of writing, teaching, and curriculum. Writing is a thinking and learning tool, and for students to become prepared for the demands of college, career, and life, writing remains a core skill. Students need meaningful writing assignments, they need to write frequently, and they need feedback that matters. The Literacy Symposium exists to help professional educators keep these facts at the forefront in their teaching, preparation, and professional development.”

Dr. Troy Hicks, keynote speaker for this year’s symposium, is associate professor of English at Central Michigan University, and his work centers on teaching writing, literacy, and technology. As director of CMU’s Chippewa River Writing Project, Dr. Hicks has direct experience with the changing nature of writing and the advent of digital literacy, and he synthesizes that information into his teacher training and student lessons. His keynote presentation, Raising Accomplished Digital Writers, will offer attendees a look at changing practices for effective writing in an online era and new ways to encourage and engage students who are increasingly (often solely) operating in digital mediums.

In addition to Dr. Hicks’ keynote presentation, several sessions centered around writing and literacy are planned, including preparing students for the new Florida Standards Assessment, principles of effective writing instruction, teacher and peer feedback on student writing, assistive technology tools for writing, and many others.

The symposium takes place April 3rd at the Education Complex and Teaching Academy buildings on the UCF campus.