June 4, 2012

Facebook and Twitter taking over writing pedagogy

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Last year Angela Pascopella and Will Richardson of the District of Administration reported a new approach to writing pedagogy for children named ELGG. The program uses the Facebook and Twitter model to edit the written work of students. In ELGG, students write essays and share it with the internet world for critique. The notes given by such critics are then used to re-structure the essay for final review and submission to the teacher. While it may appear that a classroom taught in a blog-type fashion would render negative results, such structure has broadened the learning capacity of special education students to the extent of being placed in regular classes in less than three years of use.

In their report, Pascopella and Richardson refer to a student named Cory who encountered the new educational tool in his sixth grade special education class. Although he was not the best writer in his class, Cory was afforded the opportunity to write an essay about the service of military men and women that received an immeasurable amount of positive feedback from internet readers. Such feedback inspired him to revise and publish a higher quality of work that eventually placed him in regular classes by his eighth grade year.

While socializing over the internet has helped many students like Cory succeed in their educational endeavors over the past few years, it is not safe to say that such networking will benefit all students. Amid the praise given to ELGG, Pascopella and Richardson also present the idea of online networking hindering the writing process in pedagogy. The writers explain, “the students are flocking to online networks in droves, and they are doing a great deal of writing…but much of it outside the traditional expectations of ‘good writing’” Although Facebook and Twitter are inspiring students to write, what type of writing are they inspiring and producing?

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