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The End of Writing?

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Prompted by a reader’s comment on the difficulty of teaching writing to today’s tech-infused students, language arts teacher Bill Ferriter of The Tempered Radical begins to wonder about the role of writing instruction in our increasingly digitized world. Maybe, he suggests, the students are on to something:

Do you think that the definition of "writing correctly" is changing before our eyes? Could writing play a smaller role in the lives of future generations as technology makes video a more and more accessible--and influential--form of media and communication? Do we already see that transition playing out in the exploding growth of web services like You Tube and Jump Cut?
Should we begin emphasizing new literacies in our classrooms that will prepare children for the world that they are going to inherit rather than the world we are most comfortable with?

Tough questions for a language arts teacher to be asking. And Ferriter is looking for help with the answers.

4 Comments

Has he seen the blogworld lately???? Writing is not dead at all. In fact it's exploding, even for teens - check out myspace and all the writing going on there.

I definitely think that the definition of literacy has changed, as well as language conventions which have never been static anyway. I also agree with the previous poster that writing is not dead; there are new contexts created by the digital world. Writing is still about purpose and audience, and writing instruction is about helping writers identify appropriate styles and formats for different situations. Just because our students are making meaning and expressing themselves in different modes doesn't mean they are not using language. Check out the new fields of digital literacy, transmediation/multimodal communication, visual rhetoric, etc.

I agree that although teens and pre-teens are texting and IM'ing all over the place, they still need to learn and pratice all of the standard writing conventions. No one is going to be hired if their spelling and grammar on a job application looks more like a text message than a well-thought through paragraph. Audience and purpose are key.

I agree with Carol; although kids today frequently use the computer to write, the writing that is being done is usually IMing or chatting. The grammar and style they use is usually not correct. I'm wondering what other literacies can be introduced to teens who are living in this technology ridden world?

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  • Katherine Bullington: I agree with Carol; although kids today frequently use the read more
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  • Kelly Henderson: I definitely think that the definition of literacy has changed, read more
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