I have been trying to get through all the tweets I marked and came across news report out of the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. Daniel Keyes, an associate professor of English is concerned that more and more, students at the university level do not know how to write. He says some common problems are sloppiness and lack of use of proper contractions and apostrophes. He says that university students should know that in formal writing we do not use contractions such as don’t and can’t. He blames television, facebook and all social media.
I do not agree with Keyes on this. I have to admit that I am not the best writer. Some people are better writers than others. I did not grow up in the world of social media and I did not know some of the formalities of university style writing. I don’t think we can blame social media for this lack of knowledge or ability. I think these problems were always present and it just depends on the person who is writing.
Keyes goes on to add that perhaps social media isn’t all that bad since it does encourage young people to read and write and be engaged in their reading and writing. He definitely believes we are entering a new era of learning. Carolyn Luban states that students are more interested in mastering different media and are really learning how to communicate to different audiences. I love this aspect of social media. It gives students an authentic environment in which to practice their different types of writing as well as think about the communication of their messages based on their audience.
I found the reporter’s comment that “no doubt technology is creeping into the classroom.” I wish it wasn’t creeping. I wish it was knocking down the doors and opening everyone’s eyes to the amazing learning opportunity that it presents to every teacher and every learner.
Keyes says that sometimes the switch for students from communicating in less than 140 characters to formal writing is leading students to the inability to communicate efficiently. Students interviewed did admit to being lazy when it came to punctuation, abbreviations and structure. My thoughts are that the difficulties in writing could be credited to laziness as opposed to the lack of knowledge.
The last comment by Keyes really surprised me. He said, students could have really great ideas, but because they can’t write, they can’t express these ideas. He goes on to imply that a knowledge of writing is more important than a knowledge of twitter because “twitter isn’t going to pay the bills.” I would wholeheartedly disagree with Keyes on this point. While I see that value of formal writing, I think more and more society will be heading to communication in the business and work-world via sites like twitter and facebook. Therefore having a good knowledge of how to use these applications is just as, if not more so, important than the formalities in writing. I would also say that Keyes has no idea how students are going to make a living and pay their bills. Recently I saw a statistic that 80% of students will be working in jobs that are not even invented yet. To me, this means that students may very will be working in the world of technology. Keyes seemed to imply that being able to communicate in order to be a well-read author is the way to go as opposed to communicating in twitter. Unfortunately, I do not agree. I tend to think that very few students will graduate and be well-known authors whereas most students will need to have knowledge of twitter and social media in whatever career they choose.
What do you think? Should there be more importance being put on teaching the formality of writing or should our views shift to teaching our students how to use and incorporate social media applications into their day-to-day and work lives?