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Excellent article from the BBC: “Children who use technology are ‘better writers’.”

“Ha!,” I say to all the anti-tech-elitists who said that tech rots children’s brains and prevents them from writing well.

Results from this survey done by the National Literacy Trust in the UK:

Tech Usage

  • 24% of kids had their own blog
  • 82% of kids sent text messages once a month or more
  • 73% used IM
  • 77% used paper/pen for class notes or homework still

Self-rated Writing Skills

  • Kids who didn’t blog or use social networks, and self-rated their writing as “good” or “very good” – 47%
  • Kids who do blog and self-rated their writing as “good” or very good” – 61%
  • Kids who do use social networks and self-rated their writing as “good” or very good” – 56%

Kids feel they write better the more communication tools they use.  Do they actually write better?  This organization says yes.  I have seen no surveys or studies to the contrary, and logic says to me that if you write more (no matter what you write) you will likely write better.  Just as if you read more (be it non-fiction or graphic novels) you will likely read better too.

“Writing digitally = better self-perception of writing skills”

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  2. peter Says:

    I can’t comment on the report b/c I haven’t read it, but I don’t necessarily agree that b/c you write alot – digitally or otherwise – you’ll be a better writer. Now, if you write alot and you have someone proofing your work then I think you have a shot.

  3. vickie Says:

    Thinking back to my stats course in library school. I wonder if the technie kids are richer and therefore more confident and therefore rate their skills higher? By the way, I have read a few blogs by high school kids – and some of them are so poorly written and contain so little content of any use whatsoever that I can’t see the value in it. There are exceptions of course.
    However, having said this, I do not remain convinced by either camp – I think there are other factors at work that make kids good writers rather than their tech savvy or screen time. I read a study last year or so that said that reading to children makes little difference in their ultimate reading ability or educational success — it found that the most important factor was the socio-economic well being/educational attainment of the parents. So don’t bother reading “Night Moon” to little Timmy; get yourself out there and set up a global corporation or get your MBA in night school.

  4. Winnie Says:

    I wonder how they define “better”. And I agree with Vickie – given that technology is not free perhaps the kids who do write “better” have other advantrages which have absolutley nothing to do with technology use. I am of the generation that was told television would rot our brains and I had to listen to people tell me that video games would rot my kids brains. Things are never that simple.

  5. Susan V Says:

    I’m all for writing and more writing – generally, the more you write, the better you get at it. That I can concur with, and I think that’s a positive sign. I think it’s great that kids are blogging, etc. What I take issue with is the idea that because they THINK they write better, therefore they write better. Having worked for newspapers and having been involved in numerous writing groups, I’ve often seen an inverse relationship between the quality of the writing and the pride the writer takes in it. Some of the worst writers I’ve ever encountered seemed to think that every word they typed was issued by the gods themselves. I mean, seriously dreadful, painfully bad stuff. And these folks wrote a lot, too.

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