Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kids 9 - 16 and Writing. A UK Report on the Role of Technology

Young people and writing: Attitudes, behaviour and the role of technology, by the National Literacy Trust, looks at young people's views about writing in the UK, with a focus on exploring "what type of writing they engage in, how good at writing they think they are, what they think about writing and what the role of technology is in young people's writing". In term sof technology, it explores writing with respect to mobile phone ownership, having a blog and having a profile on a social networking site.

The report's results are based on an online survey in May, 2009 of 3001 pupils aged 9-16 from England and Scotland. Here are some of the key findings:
  • 75% of young people said that they write regularly, with technology-based formats the most frequently used. "For example, 82% of young people wrote text messages at least once a month, 73% wrote instant messages (such as messages on AIM or MSN), and 63% wrote on a social networking site..."
  • 56% of respondents had a social networking profile, and 24% said that they have their own blog..."research shows that technology offers different writing opportunities for young people, which is seen in a link between blogging and (self-reported) writing ability and enjoyment of writing..."
  • Typical gender split, which has been demonstrated by many academic and government reports, "Boys did not enjoy writing as much as girls (38% vs. 52%), either for family/friends or for schoolwork. Boys were also more likely to rate themselves as ’not very good writers‘ than girls (48% vs. 42%) and to emphasize the lack of technical skills when explaining their self-perceived ability"
  • Kids 9-11 enjoyed writing more than kids 11-14. At the latter stage interest towards writing is negative, however the study found that there was a positive growth and interest in writing again between the ages of 14-16
The report ends off with a statement which is echoed in many studies exploring this topic - school curriculum needs to capture and use the writing forms and mediums which young people now enjoy and engage with in order to demonstrate that writing is more than a classroom activity...it is an essential life skill.