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The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools

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Released in July 16, 2013. In a survey of 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers, a majority say digital tools encourage students to be more invested in their writing by encouraging personal expression and providing a wider audience for their work. Most also say digital tools make teaching writing easier, despite an increasingly ambiguous line between formal and informal writing and students’ poor understanding of issues such as plagiarism and fair use. These teachers see the internet and digital technologies such as social networking sites, cell phones and texting, generally facilitating teens’ personal expression and creativity, broadening the audience for their written material, and encouraging teens to write more often in more formats than may have been the case in prior generations. At the same time, they describe the unique challenges of teaching writing in the digital age, including the "creep" of informal style into formal writing assignments and the need to better educate students about issues such as plagiarism and fair use.

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