Writing, Technology & Teens: The Findings of the Pew Internet Project and the National Commission on Writing
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Writing, Technology & Teens: The Findings of the Pew Internet Project and the National Commission on Writing

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Amanda Lenhart presented to the Education Writers Association Annual Meeting. This presentation offers an overview of the findings and insights from the Writing, Technology and Teens report. The ...

Amanda Lenhart presented to the Education Writers Association Annual Meeting. This presentation offers an overview of the findings and insights from the Writing, Technology and Teens report. The report and the presentation examine the intersection between writing and technology for teens, in both the academic and social spheres.
4/25/08

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Writing, Technology & Teens: The Findings of the Pew Internet Project and the National Commission on Writing Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Writing, Technology & Teens: Findings of the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the National Commission on Writing Amanda Lenhart Education Writers Association April 25, 2008 Chicago, IL
  • 2. Methodology
    • Nationally representative RDD telephone survey of 700 parent – child pairs
    • Teens ages 12-17
    • Eight focus groups with teens 12-17 in four U.S. cities in the Summer of 2007
  • 3. Main findings
    • Writing in school is ubiquitous, and nearly so out side of school.
    • Teens are embedded in a tech-rich world, but do not think that the writing they do via electronic communication (IM, txt, email, SNS) is “writing.”
    • Teens also tell us that the informal style and short cuts from e-communication creeps into school work.
    • Parents and teens agree that writing is important to teens’ futures.
    • And teens believe that writing instruction in school could be improved through more class time and the use of technology to enhance instruction.
  • 4. Teens and writing
    • All teens write for school; 93% write out side of school.
    • Half of teens write daily for school; 13% write daily outside of school.
    • Majority of writing assignments are short – a paragraph to a page in length, on average.
    • Teens report that they enjoy writing, both for school and outside of school.
      • 67% say they enjoy writing for school “some” or “a great deal”
      • 90% of teens who write outside of school say they enjoy it some or a great deal
  • 5. Teens, writing and electronic communication
    • Of teens who send text messages, email, IM and social networking messages, 60% think that those messages are NOT writing.
    • Most teens do not believe that electronic communication has any influence on their writing, for good or for bad.
    • However, 64% of teens report that the informal styles often found in electronic communication do bleed into their school work.
      • 50% have used informal capitalization
      • 38% have used text short cuts like “LOL” or “ur”
      • 25% have used emoticons
  • 6. Writing and technology
    • Most teens think that using a computer to write does not make them better writers – most believe technology is relatively neutral.
    • But they do think that they edit and revise more when they use a computer to write.
      • 57% edit and revise more
    • More teens also think that writing with computers makes them more likely to take short cuts and not put effort into writing.
  • 7. Parent & teen attitudes toward technology & writing
    • Parents believe that there is a greater need for good writing skills today than 20 years ago.
    • 86% of teens believe that good writing is important to success in life.
    • About half of parents believe their children are writing more than they did at the same age.
    • The largest % of parents (40%) think that email, IM, and texting make no difference in their child’s writing skills.
    • Parents are more likely than teens to say that teens using computers for writing has positive effects.
  • 8. Final Thoughts
    • Informal styles in formal school work becomes another element of teaching teens the difference between formal and informal writing – like slang.
    • Parents and teens think writing is important and teens see places for improvement in classroom teaching.
    • Teens suggest that instructional improvements could come from more class time dedicated to instruction, and from the use of technology and applications to enhance that instruction.
  • 9. Questions?
    • Amanda Lenhart
    • http://www.pewinternet.org
    • Richard Sterling
    • http://www.collegeboard.com