I Right, Therefore I’m Bright!

From http://iblogo.com/2009/06/24/online-writing-isisnt-making-students-better-writers/:

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?


4 thoughts on “I Right, Therefore I’m Bright!

  1. It may change the way we write…not sure. But human nature doesn’t change. We will write for the reasons that we have always written I suppose – to communicate and put our won points of view.

    May be it can be simplified – we read to learn, and write to put a view.

    In the end at least we’re writing I suppose.

    The basic question for me is I guess whether our (my writing) actually leaves room for anyone else.

    Writing can be a violent/exclusive or a inclusive/ loving, inviting thing like everything else we do.

    Interactive reading/writing is very much a relational exercise.

  2. I love the internet. Being able to find information and opinions about just about anything FAST, is so great. I am all for online learning, and the online dissemination of information.

    The drawback is that I increasingly want to do everything so fast that I can’t even be bothered taking the time to look over what I have written. So the typos, grammatical mistakes, horrendous gaps that come from copy and pasting mistakes means that most of what I write is very very ugly.

    But getting to the point of a matter is paramount to me. The only problem I have with online stuff is the twitter language and the way people say dat instead of that etc. takes a while to understand.

    It’s certainly true that books written years ago are harder read through. But I like to think that there is a happy medium between the old hymnal language on one hand, and a vocabulary of “awesome”, aaaargh” and “I’m gonna praise yoh”.

  3. Teddy, I had a dear old grandma who was an old time Lutheran hymn singer AND a primary school teacher and she always corrected bad English.

    I always think of her whenever I go to a church and they use the word “gonna” in a song. I know everyone says it but …
    No theological problem with it, but there’s just something about Christians singing about what they’re “gonna do” that makes me feel the end of civilization is nigh!

    P.S Her church was just so incredibly boring with most of the members over 70 and with long German names. But she read her bible everyday and had more joy and peace than anyone I know. One of these old women who taught Sunday school since before WW2 and even braved it into the schools to teach religious instruction in her 70’s. (AND correcting the grammar of random kids on the way to her class). You know you’re getting old when those days seem like the good old days.

    Once in a Charismatic church years ago was enough for her, so I can’t imagine she’d last 5 minutes in a real BAM BOOM church.

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