Writing, Technology and Teens

Teens write a lot, but they do not think of their emails, instant and text messages as writing. This disconnect matters because teens believe good writing is an essential skill for success and that more writing instruction at school would help them.

Family, Friends & Community: Writing, Technology, and Teens

The perennial cliche in computers and writing is that ‘the kids’ know more about technology than we do. I always thought that was a little odd, coming from professionals who spent their lives studying technology.

In any case, what is more true is that the kids have a different sense of technology, and often different technologies, than their professors, at least if there is a great enough age difference. That became clear several years ago when cell phones and texting hit the U.S.

In the academic world we had been all excited (some still are, oddly) about instant messaging. Meanwhile, right in front of our eyes the kids shifted away from email and towards their cell phones. They will likely never know what P.D.A. stands for, much less use one.

It may or may not be generational but the Pew Report suggests that the gap is growing on both sides. In some ways it just makes sense. College students don’t like the same music that I do, at least in most cases, so why should they favor the same communication technologies?

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn’t want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so.

I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com.

I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that ‘at’ symbol] writinginthewild.com

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