OMG: Social Media May Wreck Your Kid’s WritingBy Ruth Campbell published in Opposing Viewpoints in Context, 2015  Convertible laptop computers are being loaded with software Friday for Central High School students to begin using in January . Teachers say the usage of computers and social mediaon smartphones has caused students’ writing skills to wither.  The prevalence of Facebook, Twitter and texting has all but obliterated punctuation, capitalization and apostrophes in schools, threatening the future of formal writing, educators say. Immersed in Technology And it’s no wonder. Cape Girardeau public school students, for example, start learning keyboarding in kindergarten to get them used to technology, curriculum coordinator Theresa Hinkebein said. But she noted kindergartners already know how to operate smartphones and have computers at home. Keyboarding itself doesn’t have an effect on grammar and formal writing, but with people relying more on electronic devices, physical handwriting also is disappearing. Hinkebein said students are taught cursive writing the second semester of second grade, and kindergarten through 12th-grade students are taught when it’s inappropriate to use informal language. “Our teachers really try to help our students understand the difference between formal and informal writing,” she said. But students come to school “already immersed in technology,” Hinkebein noted.  Students are more likely to commit certain grammatical errors because they use the conventions of texting, tweeting and Facebooking in their formal academic essays. Assistant superintendent for academic services Sherry Copeland said though spell-check and grammar software exist, students still need to know how to spell and use correct grammar. Copeland said she has been on job interviews where a prospective employer has asked her to sit down and write something longhand. Southeast Missouri State University writing instructor Eric Sentell said in an email to the Southeast Missourian that since he began teaching six years ago, he’s noticed a difference in the quality of students’ writing. “Students are more likely to commit certain grammatical errors because they use the conventions of texting, tweeting and Facebooking in their formal academic essays. Occasionally, I see actual ‘text language,’ like using the letter ‘u’ instead of the word ‘you,'” Sentell wrote.
 Most of the time, it’s lack of capitalization, punctuation and apostrophes, Sentell said. Code Switching “Everyone speaks and writes differently for different audiences, but some students struggle to switch between the informal codes of texting and social media and the more-formal codes of standard written English and academic or professional writing. After noticing increases in text language and other grammatical errors, I began emphasizing ‘code-switching,’ or adapting one’s writing to one’s audience,” Sentell wrote. “I observed a significant reduction in those errors and an increase in the overall quality of my students’ writing. But some capitalization, punctuation and apostrophe errors still creep in every now and then.” Central High School principal Mike Cowan, a former English teacher, said texting language has become so commonplace, he even noticed a billboard between Cape Girardeau and Oak Ridge that used “U” instead of “You.” “If we have a disciplinary situation in school, we always invite the student to write a statement about what happened to try and get down to the facts of the situation. They’ll write in that kind of informal expression. I see it more all the time. I think it is indeed an academic battle that faculty teachers are fighting …” Cowan said. For a while, Cowan said he fought texting, but he’s doing it himself now.  “Often I’ll get comments that I’ve been texting in complete sentences. Now I’m going for declarative sentences. I guess I’ve even relented to some degree,” he said. The bottom line, though, is over time people lose writing skills. “I guess you could argue it’s not a loss, but it’s a displacement, a change. I’m not so sure how far you can change and still continue to communicate accurately,” Cowan said
Social Media Makes for Better Student Writing, Not Worse, Teachers SayBy Joanna Stern, published in ABC News,J uly 16, 2003 Occasionally, Jennifer Woollven, an English teacher at West Lake High School in Austin, Texas, finds some Twitter speak — a FWIW or an “ur” — in a paper. But most of the time she finds that her students are paying a lot more attention when it comes to their writing assignments, especially when they know it might be shared via Twitter itself.  “As an English teacher who is trying to improve student writing, one thing I see is that people are seeing greater ownership of their writing when they know it will be seen beyond the class and the teacher,” Woollven, 40, said.  She has many of her 10th-grade students post their essays and creative-writing assignments on blogs.  Woollven’s students aren’t the only ones who have found motivation, thanks to digital tools and social media. A study released today by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the National Writing Project has found that 78 percent of high school teachers agree that digital technologies “encourage student creativity and personal expression.”  And to add to that, 96 percent agree that digital technologies “allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience.” Encouraging Collaboration, Creativity Joel Malley, 38, has found the same thing in his ninth- and 12th-grade English classes at Cheektowaga High School in upstate New York.  “It creates a culture of creativity,” he said. “They know it will be watched and viewed. It won’t just sit in a closet,” Malley said of his students’ digital story-telling projects, which include everything from blog posts to documentary videos.  Kristen Purcell, the director of research at Pew’s Internet & American Life Project, said other middle and high school teachers shared that the use of social media tools has sparked more creativity in students.  “Some teachers view social media as another avenue for creative expression,” Purcell told ABC News. “Most teachers told us they wouldn’t consider texting or tweeting as formal writing, in the strict sense, but they used the term pre-writing. Students start to express their thoughts and that means students are writing more and they see that as a plus.”
 Malley also has his students use Google Docs to write and share their writing with him and their classmates. The collaborative word processing app, which allows users to see the editing in real-time, has allowed students to peer-edit and also speed up the writing process. And Malley isn’t the only one using apps to teach writing.  Pew found that 50 percent of the teachers surveyed say the Internet and digital tools make it easier for them to teach writing; 18 percent say they make it more difficult and 31 percent see no real effect. With all that tech, though, 94 percent of the teachers encourage their students to write by hand.  Pew surveyed 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers across the country for the report. Effect on Analysis and Spelling But it’s not all positive. Both New York’s Malley and Austin’s Woollven, who participated in the Pew study, shared that while it isn’t a pervasive problem, students do mistakenly use shorthand or texting language in papers and assignments.  “I see a lot of writing that has text language: ‘ur’ for ‘your’ or not capitalizing words,” Woollven said. “For kids who have grown up texting and instant messaging, it is pretty engrained. It is something you have to keep reminding and keep looking at.”  According to the report, 40 percent say digital technology makes students more likely to use poor spelling and grammar, although 38 percent say it is “less likely” to cause those mistakes.  There is also the effect of the speed of the new technologies. Forty-six percent of teachers said that digital tools have made students write too fast, causing mistakes and carelessness. “They are bombarded by so much and they are used to things quickly posting on social networks,” Woollven said. “They aren’t always thinking about revising.”  In focus groups, teachers shared with the Pew authors that the shorter and more concise forms of digital social expression seem to affect students’ ability to read and write longer texts.  Still, many teachers — and according to Pew’s numbers, the majority of teachers — believe that tech is only making writing stronger in certain aspects. And many teachers are up for the new challenges.  “Teachers have been complaining about the declining standards of writing for what seems like 150 years,” Malley said. “I disagree with that. They [students] write differently for me than they do on their Twitter accounts, and if they don’t, it’s my job to let them know what the difference should be.
DATE: The final essay exam will be available on Canvas from 8am Tuesday, May 26th to 8am Wednesday, May
27th. Late assignments will not be accepted for any reason.
TIME: You will have 3 hours to complete the Final Essay Exam. Once you open the Essay Exam, the timer will immediately start.
FORMAT: MLA Format and Style (you don’t need a Works Cited page). No outside research is allowed for this assignment.
LENGTH: At least three full pages in MLA format. Be thorough, yet concise.
DIRECTIONS: You have three hours to read the articles provided and write your essay. This assignment asks you to respond to the topic both articles address with an argument of your own in an essay that is 5 paragraphs in length. The essay should be at least 3 pages in MLA format. You must use at least 6 quotes in the essay.
Here is a basic outline you can follow when writing your exam:
I. Intro: hook, background information about the topic (it’s fine to introduce the two articles, including the titles, authors, and main idea in your introduction), and your thesis statement
II. Body 1: first reason to support your thesis, evidence from the article you agree with, explanation of the evidence and why it supports your topic sentence.
III. Body 2: second reason to support your thesis, evidence from the article you agree with, explanation of the evidence and why it supports your topic sentence
IV. Body 3: third reason to support your thesis, evidence from the article you agree with, explanation of the evidence and why it supports your topic sentence
***The essay must have at least two quotes in each body paragraph, for a total of 6 quotes.
Your exam will be read by me, and I will decide if your essay is passing or not passing using this
This is a test. You are not allowed to receive any help on this test. This means that you cannot ask and receive help from a tutor, another classmate, a friend, a family member, or anyone or anything from the Internet.