The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on July 16, 2013

The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools – by Kristen Purcell, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich. July 16, 2013

“A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and high school students finds that digital technologies are impacting student writing in myriad ways and there are significant advantages from tech-based learning. Some 78% of the 2,462 advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project say digital tools such as the internet, social media, and cell phones “encourage student creativity and personal expression.” In addition:

  • 96% agree digital technologies “allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience”
  • 79% agree that these tools “encourage greater collaboration among students”

According to teachers, students’ exposure to a broader audience for their work and more feedback from peers encourages greater student investment in what they write and in the writing process as a whole. At the same time, these teachers give their students modest marks when it comes to writing and highlight some areas needing attention. Asked to assess their students’ performance on nine specific writing skills, teachers tended to rate their students “good” or “fair” as opposed to “excellent” or “very good.” Students received the best ratings on their ability to “effectively organize and structure writing assignments” and their ability to “understand and consider multiple viewpoints on a particular topic or issue.” Teachers gave students the lowest ratings when it comes to “navigating issues of fair use and copyright in composition” and “reading and digesting long or complicated texts.”

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