Digital technology makes students better creative writers (sometimes), study says


Here’s the catch, new research from Pew Internet Research shows that American middle and high school teachers think technology is helping kids with creative writing, but they’re also more likely to “write too fast and be careless.” Even though it looks like digital technologies are helping students express more creativity, likely because of access to the internet and search engines, teachers still stress that “formal writing” is top priority.


But 50% of teachers surveyed also said that digital technologies make it easier for them to help students improve their writing. Regardless, there is still a huge focus on formal writing. What is this formal writing we speak of? It’s the “old fashioned” way, by hand.

Nine in ten (92%) [teachers] describe formal writing assignments as an “essential” part of the learning process, and 91% say that “writing effectively” is an “essential” skill students need for future success.

And, almost all AP and NWP teachers surveyed (94%) encourage students to do some of their writing by hand.

Cursive writing is already disappearing from many schools, so this may be one of the only ways to ensure students spend enough time on penmanship. In addition, standardized tests still require writing and are not administered digitally.

Why else did the teachers surveyed want their students to write by hand?

  • Encourages more active thinking and synthesizing
  • Take time to think about editing when writing by hand
  • Discourages any temptation to copy and paste others’ work

You can download the report in its entirety, here.