Technology Skills Add to Writing Skills
By Martha Sessums
Reading, writing, arithmetic – Old School
Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, known as STEM – Cool School.
With today’s emphasis on STEM, the importance of writing skills sometimes gets lost. But the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project published a report that says technology is helping middle and high school students and their teachers do a better job with learning and teaching writing. In fact, 78 percent of the teachers surveyed said that digital tools such as the Internet, social media and even cell phones helped “encourage student creativity and personal expression.”
Who knew that a tweet or text would help with writing skills, but it evidently does. It broadens the audience for written material and encourages students to write in more formats. It encourages collaboration among students, and allows sharing of work with a wider and more varied audience.
The result – students have a “greater investment in what they write and a greater engagement in the writing process.”
The survey also reported concerns regarding using digital tools, such as the “creep” of informal language into formal writing. We write for different audiences (business – such as a note to our boss) and must use different styles (“hey dude” is not an appropriate salutation to our boss.) Students tend to “write too fast and be careless” and take shortcuts.
But the survey was split on spelling and grammar. Forty percent said technology made students poor spellers, while 38 percent said it made students less likely to make these mistakes. I’ll admit – I’m a terrible speller and I love, love, love spell check. I am a better and faster writer because of it.
“The survey results challenge in some way the idea that student writing is being undermined by increasing engagement with digital tools,” said Kristen Purcell, the Pew Project’’s associate director for research. SF Chronicle
The ACE Partner Schools use a lot technology. The Internet powers all their Smart boards, iPads, computers, in-room projector systems and other digital tools. But ultimately the schools goal is to teach students and prepare them for their future. That includes emphasis on STEM classes, but also on writing.
I open the discussion to the ACE Partner Schools. How does technology help students learn and teachers teach writing?