teens who write

Pollsters from the Pew Internet & American Life Project have a new report out about teens’ use of technology. In particular, the questions from the poll relate to how much teens write and how they perceive themselves as writers. As we already know, teens spend copious amounts of time text messaging on cell phones and on instant message chats. But they don’t consider that writing—- and neither do we. Nevertheless, technology does play a part in encouraging teens to write more, particularly blogging:

. . . there is a relatively strong association between writing and technology platforms that help teens share their thoughts with the world such as blogs and social networking sites. Teen bloggers in particular engage in a wide range of writing outside of school. Bloggers are significantly more likely than non-bloggers to do short writing, journal writing, creative writing, write music or lyrics and write letters or notes to their friends. In this sense, bloggers are even more prolific than social networking teens when it comes to the types of writing they do. Social networking teens are unusual in their relative proclivity to write short writing, journal writing and music or lyrics. Teen bloggers also write more frequently than social networking teens.

Pew reports that nearly a quarter of teen bloggers write outside of school on a daily basis. This is encouraging, and it may convince more teachers to include blogging in their lessons. When does blogging in the classroom make the most sense? Anytime you require recurrent responses from your students. Blogging’s sequential quality is especially useful for assigning frequent freewrites on reading topics. Or, maybe you’d like your students to keep a summary of daily class notes; this is the place to do it.

Do you dread having to keep track of all those blogs? Don’t. The extremely handy RSS feature makes it easy to collect all of your students’ work in one place. You will be able to easily scroll through their writings, and your feed reader will refresh each time your students make an addition to their blog posts. No paper shuffling. More about RSS feeds in a future post.

Utilizing blogs in the classroom was problematic even as recently as a couple of years ago, due to unwanted spam in the comments. New spam-targeting technology has virtually eliminated that problem, making blogs such as WordPress and Blogger excellent choices. They’re free, too.

The Pew poll contains a wealth of information about teens, technology, and writing, and tomorrow I’ll tell you what they learned motivates teens to write, and what teens think about writing for school.

More about writing and tools for the classroom

context and comprehension

let them remix videos

Fair use–what it really means

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