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Technology Transforms Writing and the Teaching of Writing


Thursday, December 1, 1999: This message was distributed by Papyrus News, a free e-mail distribution list on the global impact of information technology on language, literacy, and education. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For information on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <>.


If you haven't yet done so, check out this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Technology Transforms Writing and the Teaching of Writing

The articles includes a rather random survey of educators' comments on how use of ICT is effecting the writing of their students, with an emphasis on the views of "techno-skeptics." Much of it discusses how students use of e-mail and online chat has eroded their ability, concentration or interest in writing serious composition. Other respondents were much more positive.

Perhaps the most interesting part to me was the statement that one well-regarded university (MIT) is now offering a credit course in e-mail writing which will soon be required of all MIT students.

One of the more positive views of the role of technology mentioned in the article was that of Robert Coover:

"The Web is where we're all going," says Robert Coover, a professor of English at Brown University. "It is now the dominant medium of expression and communication. My own workshops make extensive use of it. The digital revolution and the rush to the Internet that followed on its heels seem, from this fin-de-siecle vantage point, irresistible and to be with us indefinitely. It has, more or less overnight, become a fundamental element of literacy."

Mark Warschauer

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Last updated: January 11, 2000