Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Positive View of Technology and Literacy

BBC News - Children who use technology are 'better writers'
Children who blog, text or use social networking websites are more confident about their writing skills, according to the National Literacy Trust.
The report is intriguing.  (And not just because it reports that students using social media were "more confident" of their skills but doesn't correlate that with any actual assessment of those skills.)

My own children are doing much more writing than I ever did as a child/youth/student.  And while only a small portion of that is formal writing for school, they are learning a lot about communicating through writing that I actually believe is really valuable.  In the same way that they can take hundreds to thousands of "free" digital photographs for every one carefully calculated "costly" photo I took at their age--and so are actually learning much more about lighting, exposure, and depth of field because of immediate and voluminous feedback--they are also learning communication skills by constantly "writing" to their friends.

Of course, we now have all kinds of collateral issues associated with these different forms of electronic writing around permanence, visibility, and actual authorship; on balance, though, my sense is we'll see this resurgence in writing as a strong positive characteristic of our time.