Online Writing Is/Isn’t Making Students Better Writers
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently wrote about a number of studies attempting to determine if online writing (blogs, Twitter, etc.) are helping students become better writers.
The experts are divided, many saying that the short, abbreviated style of online writing is preventing students from learning the skills to construct more complex academic arguments.
Other experts say that the benefit of online writing is that it gives writers the opportunity to write with an immediate audience in mind, and help them think about how to be clear and efficient, and connect with those they’re writing for.
Its the last sentence of the article, quoting Professor Deborah Brandt, that interested me most:
But that view [that students’ reading levels will decline because they write more than they read] … is being challenged by the literacy of young people, which is being developed primarily by their writing. They’re going to be reading, but they’re going to be reading to write, and not to be shaped by what they read.
I wonder what effects this shift in learning is already having on the Church. How often are we processing what we’re learning through the lens of “how am I going to communicate this to others?” Personally, I know I find myself reading articles online, or listening to lectures thinking about whether or not it would make for a good blog post.
Is this a good thing? On one hand, studies have shown that we retain information at a much higher rate if we are actively teaching that information to others. On the other hand, when do our personal learning experiences (specifically about spiritual things) need to be just that – personal?
If we’re always wondering what it means for somebody else, are we spending enough time thinking about what it means for us?