Digital Writing Wonders

Last week, one of our 6th grade language arts teachers used the wireless lab to have students write a story about a mythological figure.  The teacher was so impressed with the quality work students were turning out.  She actually said that she would have them write on the computer from now on because their work was so much more creative.

Hearing this kind of statement really made me stop to reflect for a few days.  What is the connection between writing digitally and creativity?  Is there a different thought process involved that occurs when we put pen to paper versus typing on a keyboard?  What is the connection?

Now, these stories were not to be published on the web so the students knew there was no audience but their teacher.  According to her, she had students participating and producing in the activity who would normally not engage if the assignment were done on paper.

Is the answer as simple as technology helps kids connect to learning?  Could it be that by simply handing them computers, we are making a bridge between school and the digital world they live in?  Once the bridge is in place, students are able to engage in ways they could not before?

Lots of questions, I know.  There is no hidden agenda here.  I’m not trying to sell anyone on technology.  It’s just that when a very experienced teacher is willing to abandon former practices because she sees technology is making a difference, I sit up and pay attention.

I am very interested in hearing opinions on this one!  If anyone has research on writing with technology, I would love to read it.

3 thoughts on “Digital Writing Wonders

  1. I does make one stop and wonder. It, to me, makes the writing experience “out of the ordinary box” and thus students put more thought and effort into it. It is a different way to express your thoughts…..just a new tool can wake up those brains cells and get the juices flowing. That is how it is for me. Technology alarm clocks are going off! I love it! I’m happy for that teacher and those kids. It is the 21st century and we many of us are waking up!!! One day we won’t have to sing up to use computers. We will have them so available like pencils and paper are now. Can you imagine that?

  2. Speaking from my experience when writing creatively or for any reason a word processor helps me be a better writer. I can simply begin typing my ideas as they come to me. Then I easily go back and read, reread, edit, revise and even change my ideas with a simple “click o’ the mouse.” Once I have my story written I can insert my cursor and add “color” words as one of my colleagues calls describing words to make my story more interesting. I can “fluff up” my story even more by adding details to areas that may be weak. It is not that easy when using paper and pencil.

    I can remember writing papers in school and by the time I had finished there were so many arrows, insertions, marked out lines, etc. that it was difficult making heads or tales of what I had written. It would get very frustated writing and rewriting in order to improve my story.

    I am excited to hear that one of your teachers used the computer to have her students write creatively and found success. I believe her fellow teachers will also sit up and pay attention to what she discovered. We can only hope that this is just the begining to getting her students excited and activitely engaged in learning.

  3. To me it is about the tool of the times. When I was at school, pencils were all we had, it was the tool we used in school AND out. Of course if we got really good we got bumped up to PENS…
    How many kids today use a pencil or pen in the same manner as we did outside of school hours today?
    How many kids are more aware of the qwerty keyboard layout and the celphone pad than they are of proper pencil grip?
    To them the keyboard is the tool of the day, not the pencil, so when they are made to write with one…it slows the creativity down, just as if we were made to write with a slate or a fountain pen when we were at school.

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