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Digital Tools are Changing the Way our Kids Write

Pew Research


Every generation has its own language. For a while, “man” was the throw-on word for cool people – “Way to go, man”, “How’s it going, man?” – and then it changed to “dude”. That’s the nature of language, it keeps evolving.

Our kids are growing up in a technological age and soon enough, if they aren’t already, they will be texting, writing on social media sites, updating their blogs as well as writing in more traditional formats, such as essays for school. Pew Research decided to look into how digital tools are changing the way our kids write, and the results are very interesting. 

2,462 teachers were asked about how technology affects their students’ writing. The feedback was mixed. On the positive side, they reported that tech tools benefits students’ personal expression, creativity, and the tools facilitate collaboration. Many of the teachers reported that students are more willing to offer feedback and advice to their peers through shared documents and, as a result, often students put more thought into writing with clarity and are more willing to go back to revise and improve their work.

On the negative side, teachers find that students now blend informal and formal writing, often struggling with deliberate writing based on the audience they are writing for. As digital tools use truncated language, so students have a tendency to bring this shorter writing style to all their assignments. Simply put, they struggle to write longer, more complex pieces that require organization and critical thinking skills. Student writing seem to struggle with making coherent points and delving deeper into an argument.

Pew Research’s report, called The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing Is Taught in Schools” is an interesting read and definitely one I would suggest parents of Middle School kids read. It certainly highlights some of the issues our kids will face.