Wednesday, May 07, 2008

eSchool News: Blogging Helps Encourage Teen Writing

(I use blogs as journals, archives and freewriting sites for students in my writing courses. Weblog writing demonstrates the public/social nature of writing and, I believe, provides a stronger sense of responsibility in regards to what the student writes.)

Blogging helps encourage teen writing: Survey reveals that student bloggers are more prolific and appreciate the value of writing more than their peers
From eSchool News staff and wire service reports

For most media outlets that reported on an important new survey measuring the impact of technology on teens' writing skills, the big news from the survey was that emoticons and text-messaging abbreviations are creeping into students' formal writing assignments. :-(

Buried beneath the alarm of writing "purists," however, was a promising finding with equally important implications for schools: Blogging is helping many teens become more prolific writers.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project with support from the College Board and its National Commission on Writing, explores the links between the formal writing that teens do for school and the informal, electronic communication they exchange through eMail and text messaging.

Teens who communicate frequently with their friends, and those who own more technology tools such as computers or cell phones, do not write more often for school or for themselves than less communicative and less gadget-rich teens, according to the study, released April 24. Teen bloggers, however, write more frequently both online and offline, the study says.

Forty-seven percent of teen bloggers write outside of school for personal reasons several times a week or more, compared with 33 percent of teens without blogs. Sixty-five percent of teen bloggers believe that writing is essential to later success in life; 53 percent of non-bloggers say the same thing.

Bradley A. Hammer, who teaches in Duke University's writing program, says the kind of writing students do on blogs and other digital formats actually can be better than the writing style they learn in school, because it is better suited to true intellectual pursuit than is SAT-style writing.

"In real ways, blogging and other forms of virtual debate actually foster the very types of intellectual exchange, analysis, and argumentative writing that universities value," he wrote in an op-ed piece last August.

Teens write for a variety of reasons, the report notes: as part of a school assignment, to stay in touch with friends, to share their artistic creations with others, or simply to record their thoughts. Teens say they're more motivated to write when they can choose topics that are relevant to their lives and interests, and they report greater enjoyment of school writing when they have the chance to write creatively. Teens also report that writing for an audience motivates them to write well and more frequently--and blogs are one way of providing this type of audience.

Link to Read the Rest of the Article

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