Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Generation Text

Clive Thompson has an interesting article in the recent Wired which strikes back at claims that technology (texting, IM'ing, etc.) is making the next generation illiterate. In this article, he cites the results of the Stanford Study of Writing, which show that the vast amount of typing required of youth culture actually makes today's students better writers. In addition, they seem to be more aware of their audience than writers of the past, and function better with a specific audience in mind than simply writing for the grade.

Since I am no longer teaching, I can't really weigh in on this debate, but I can say that it seems to make sense in a purely logical way. I wonder whether these results are seen by you teachers of composition and writing out there. Are your current students more persuasive, more prolific, than classes of the past? Do they write better when they write for a specific audience? Does all that constant blogging, tweeting, and facebooking actually improve their compositional skills? Please share your experiences and your thoughts.


Karen J. Weyant said...

Ha! Right before I clicked on your link in Wired, I thought, well Andrea Lunsford doesn't believe there's a big change, and then I read your article that mentions Lunsford's recent study -- which I found very interesting.

I teach developmental writing and I have to say there are a lot of stereotypes about who takes these classes. Most people think my students are only the "Kids who messed up in high school." True, I do have some kids who messed up in high school, but I also have students who have not written a paper in 30 years. I have students with learning disabilities. I have ESL students. Writing issues are so much more complex! I just don't see a lot of twittering or tweeting in papers!

Katie Cappello said...

I must admit I haven't read the study itself, only Clive Thompson's interpretation of it. But you're right, he doesn't consider other, less tech-savvy populations, or those that, for whatever reason, don't have access to tech. Great point, thanks Karen.

Any other teachers out there with non-tech populations? What are your views?