Writing in the 21st Century

The Future of Education

My oldest grandson turned sixteen two weeks ago and is currently a sophomore in high school. For the past five years, from beginning middle school, he has had to write a few essay papers. Despite the fact that any given moment there are at least three lap tops in his home, he has chosen to “pen” these papers on his cell phone.

I have questioned this practice several times due to what I perceive as the difficulty in writing this way. He says he has no trouble and feels more comfortable with this device. He is making good grades, so there is no reason to suggest other ways for him to complete his assignments. However, for me, the screen and the font is too small and the text too linear. I would find it hard to read, much less proof and correct errors.

This is just one of the challenges we will be facing as we move forward as instructors in the twenty-first century. There have been more technological advances in the past fifteen years than in the previous two hundred. For most of this class, this will not be an issue as most grew up with the advances in technology. There are, however, a few of us who will find it a little more challenging. l have no doubt though that all of us will rise to the challenges and whatever all of us are faced with as the century goes on, we will tackle head-on, and beat the technology instead of it beating us.

5 thoughts on “Writing in the 21st Century

  1. Donna, it is interesting how students write on their phones ; however, it is convenient that students always have a place to write. Although laptops or notebooks are more convenient for class. I want to encourage my students to write anytime they have something to say. So, if students have the urge to write and they only have their phone, I hope they choose to still write.

  2. Hi Peyton,
    I completely agree with you. I know that is what he prefers, and there is no issue with it. It just boggles my mind that he is able to write that way. It is a testament to the different generations and how he is growing up versus my youth with hard-wired landlines and electric typewriters.

  3. Donna,
    I spend most of my time writing on my phone, and I think I draw a parallel between that and someone twenty years ago jotting down stories on a napkin or a small notebook. I think that it’s all about opportunity and access. As we move into a more digital world, we have to ensure that our students maximize their opportunities for writing by utilizing every mode of access they have.

  4. Hey Donna,

    When you say “There have been more technological advances in the past fifteen years than in the previous two hundred,” is this a hyperbole to prove your point or is this from a source that you have. I have heard similar sentiments but not those exact numbers. I’s be curious about what the actual statistic is.

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