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Now, these stories were not to be published on the web so the students knew there was no audience but their teacher.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.