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Who hasn’t heard someone (or at least someone on mainstream media) complain that twitter, sms, email, and online chat programs make teens weaker writers? This is an unavoidable argument, but an unsupported argument. As a technical communicator, I, like others in my area and related areas, argue that the reverse is true. Or moslty true. Obviously plopping a cell phone with text messaging down in front of a teen will not make her or him instantly better. However, the common saying “practice make perfect” holds true for writing too. The more people write with technology, the better then will most likely become at writing. It seems fairly clear that teens are writing more then they ever have. Next time you see a teen walking and texting–remember she is walking and Writing. It may not be Shakespeare, but it is still writing.

This article , on Encarta/Msn, argues that technology makes teach better writers. Althoughit is not the most rigorous article, it does provide a nice basic introduction to the argument. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress “more eighth- and 12th-graders are scoring at or above “basic” on the [writing] exam.” While scores for higher levels or writing have stayed about the same, this does suggest that the increases of writing these students are doing via technology is improving their academic writing and more students may now have basic writing competency because of their use of new media and technology. The second part of the article suggest how we need to expand our definitions of writing to include these new media and technologies. It covers something that always shocks those of us in technology and writing fields–that these students don’t consider all this writing to be “Writing”.

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