Digital Writing: how to practice this skill and why we should care

September 1, 2023

Writing remains a crucial skill for one’s academic success and participation in society. This skill does not simply determine success in the subject known as "English" or “Language Arts”, it is also a powerful tool to fight school drop out and to reach proficiency in all school subjects. It is also an undeniable social marker.

Writing is a crucial skill

As students progress through the grades, they will be required to work on a variety of written products from informative projects in science to creative writing in math class. Thus, all subjects should be considered regarding this skill acquisition. We undeniably live in a school culture of writing and most of the time, evaluation is done through writing.I remember being very strongly challenged (euphemism) when during senior dissertation week (those who escaped these wonderful experiences should count themselves very lucky!) peers from every major were assessed on their writing in front of both professors and peers.

Development continues

Although it is often ignored, the fact is that the ability to write is the most transferable skill that there is. Moreover, its learning continues throughout  the school years and continues to be developed throughout life. Just last year, a friend in her 30’s (a college graduate) exclaimed that she felt like she finally understands the difference between there, their, and they’re because she is required to write frequently for her new position.

Digital writing

What about digital technology, which is deeply transforming the ways and challenges of writing, even in schools? How can we integrate digital tools into the learning of writing?Digital technology creates a new writing culture, especially for our students. The skill "writing with digital tools" has even been added to standards across the globe. Keyboards and screens democratize writing; they transform gestures (cutting, copying, pasting, moving ...) and modalities (collaborative, transformative, multimedia ...) and invite us to create and develop new methods to engage and assess students.

Digital technology is not, however, a magic tool that will solve the writing difficulties of students. There is no replacement for our teachers and they need the tools to streamline both the engagement of students in digital writing, but also the development of tomorrow’s writers.

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