Monday, February 27, 2017

writing in today's classroom

At the moment, writing is in a very transitional place in the academic world. Both articles point out the obvious rise and significance of writing in a digital space, as well as how the idea of writing today is not just confined to the words in a research paper. Writing has taken on a series of different identities, from social media posts to emails to even texting, and is more vocal and important than ever in today's society. Students are finding their voice in writing throughout all corners of social media and using their words to express their opinions rather strongly and eloquently on a variety of political, social, and personal subjects. 

However, it seems a lot of writing instructors in secondary and post-secondary educational are quick to dismiss the validity of writing in digital spaces. While some teachers are embracing and utilizing the technological evolution of writing, others seem indifferent in noticing how a twitter post can be just as valuable as an in-class writing journal. Amicucci's article, "How They Really Talk," addresses two different students who have used social media to explore and further their identities as writers with a wider, interactive audience full of peers. Both students serve as positive examples of how teachers can learn from the benefits of incorporating and validating digital writing in classrooms, as it is an intricate part of today's students' everyday lives. 

Addison and McGee also recognize the space of digital writing in the lives of students as they examine the future trends of writing in high school and in further levels of academia. They write that "teenagers may actually be writing more than ever but in a far greater variety of forms not normally recognized as part of their school or work experience," and that writing today may not be so much as a "'dreaded' activity" that is usually assumed (168). Again, students are using in a multitude of ways in their digital lives, but their probably subconscious interest and impressive amount of writing is not being taken advantage of but their instructors in an academic setting. In Addison and McGee's article, they also analyze quantitative data regarding what types of writing students do in classrooms. More "personal" and expressive works that could arguably deemed "passionate" had a much lower percentage overall (all less than 20%), such as creative writing, journals, and even web sites (156). Personally, I find those numbers horrifying! Teachers shrug off the importance of student writing that gives them more of a voice and potential creative "drive"; as such, if those kinds of writing are deemed "lower" than other types of writing, where does that leave digital writing on the totem pole? I'm sure instructors view a social media post as having no significance if they don't want to even encourage their students to express themselves through a piece of flashfiction.

While the change is gradual nationally across schools, digital writing needs to be recognized as a significant form of writing itself, and thus be utilized by teachers in classroom settings. Digital writing provides a space where students are able to find and express their voices more on subjects that mean more to them than whether or not Lance Armstrong should have his medals revoked because of "doping" (unless, of course, the student has that strong of an affinity for the cyclist). Teachers should see the value in digital writing, as opposed to viewing it as a waste of time or a heathen attack on the "traditional values" of writing in the academic world.

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