Pew researchers asked educators about the effect of digital tools on their students’ writing skills. They also wanted to gather more information about the digital tools that teachers use in their classrooms and find out whether these tools help students become better writers. Survey participants were also asked to share their views about the skills their 21st Century students’ will need to be successful in their future lives.
A Few of the Pew Findings
Many teachers believe that the increasing digital world audience for writers encourages students of all ages to taking writing more seriously.
Seventy-nine percent of the educators surveyed agree or strongly agree that digital tools encourage students to collaborate with one another.
Parents report they are using a lot more social media — 66% of parents with children who use social media now use it themselves (compared with 58% in the 2011 survey).
One reason that parents are increasing their use of social media sites is to be able to facilitate ongoing family conversations about content.
Parents appear to worry more about advertisers who gather information about a child’s online activities than about a child’s possible contact with unfamiliar people.
Some teens whose parents are friends have learned how to restrict the information that parents see, but in general, they are positive about friending a parent.
Parents are increasingly aware of privacy policies — 44% have read a policy for a social media that one of their children uses and 39% told the survey that they are helping their children set up social media privacy settings.
Parents are concerned about a child’s online reputation, but the concerns are the highest as children get closer to applying to college.
Reputation management, when juxtaposed with the adolescent years, is tricky for teens.
During the spring and summer of 2011 researchers made calls to 799 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and they also spoke with a parent or guardian of each adolescent. Interestingly, a large number of the teens surveyed reported that their parents and teachers provided them with the best and most helpful advice on digital citizenship issues and other virtual concerns. The media were the third most significant influence.
The graphic below shows daily use of a variety of communication technologies – and suggests that while text messaging as a daily activity for teens has grown astronomically over the past three years, other communicative technologies have remained relatively stable or have declined slightly, suggesting that the increase in texting has layered on top of the other modes of communication that teens employ.
I often think about how members of my family use computers, laptops, cell phones. Our three generations are a microcosm of gadget world users. Are we average? Do we have more gadgets or fewer? I don’t know.
My mother (83) uses a Dell desktop and occasionally a Dell laptop. My dad (87) uses a Dell laptop and an iPad. They have a cell phone and a landline and are contemplating removing the landline. Mom e-mails a lot, Dad a little.
My husband and I have a desktop, a couple of laptops, an iPad, an iPhone, a Blackberry, and a basic cell phone. I text, he does not. We both e-mail a lot. We, too, are contemplating removing the landline.
My daughter and her husband have all of the above, but more of them, as well as iPods and two iPhones. They text most of the time and e-mail much less Their house does not have a landline.