Writing for the 21st century
The advent of Web 2.0 tools like blogs, wikis, and social-networking, have changed the way children learn to write , according to a new report from the National Council of Teachers of English in the US. Schools must adapt to these ubiquitous modes of writing and develop new approaches to integrate them into the curriculum.
Blake Yancey, a professor of English at Florida State University and author of the report maintains…
‘Just as the invention of the personal computer transformed writing, digital technologies, and especially Web 2.0 tools, have created writers of everyone, meaning that even before students learn to write personal essays, they’re often writing online in many different forms. This is self-sponsored writing. It’s on bulletin boards and in chat rooms, in emails and in text messages, and on blogs responding to news reports and, indeed, reporting the news themselves. This is a writing that belongs to the writer, not to an institution.’ She continues: ‘In much of this new composing, we are writing to share, yes; to encourage dialogue, perhaps; but mostly, I think, to participate.’
The report defines this new age of writing as the Age of Composition: a period where writers become composers not through direct and formal instruction alone (if at all), but rather through what might be called an extracurricular social co-apprenticeship. Students who go online today and participate in the web’s many forms of communication compose their writing in informal contexts,where communicative knowledge is exchanged freely.