When a student sends a tweet or shares a link, that’s actually helping them with their “personal expression and creativity,” a new study about technology in classrooms says.
That’s not mollycoddling gone wrong, but proof the internet isn’t as bad for students as predicted. At least if you believe the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
The group revealed new research this week that says teachers are not all worried about technology’s effect on our best and brightest public middle school students.
Social media, cellphones and texting might actually help our next generation, Pew’s survey of 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers discovered.
The research found that digital tools are “broadening the audience for their written material, and encouraging teens to write more often in more formats than may have been the case in prior generations.”
Yet, isn't that counter-intuitive when it comes to “txt spk” and 140-character limits on our thoughts?
Yes, that part is true, too.
There are those teachers who worry students can’t form complex ideas anymore and are completely ignoring copyright and plagiarism rules.
“(Teachers) describe the unique challenges of teaching writing in the digital age, including the ‘creep’ of informal style into formal writing assignments and the need to better educate students about issues such as plagiarism and fair use,” the Pew study concludes.
So, somebody make our minds for us, are cellphones in the classroom good or bad?
Well, they can be bad if they’re used to surf Wikipedia and copy and paste entire ideas into an essay, but good if students want to share their ideas online with the world.
ABC News interviewed teachers whose students want their blogs and social media profiles to withstand public scrutiny, so they’re invested in their writing and ideas.
Pew researchers also told ABC that writing of any kind facilitates the creative process, even if it comes with the occasional “IMHO,” “JK” or “YOLO.” As long as it doesn’t end up in an essay.
“Most teachers told us they wouldn’t consider texting or tweeting as formal writing, in the strict sense, but they used the term pre-writing,” Pew’s director of research, Kristen Purcell, said.
“Students start to express their thoughts, and that means students are writing more and they see that as a plus.”
Finally, teachers suggest there’s one simple tool that will combat plagiarism and reinforce critical thinking skills: the pencil.
Writing longhand prevents copying and prepares students for critical exams, which you can't write on a computer. Yet.