July 10, 2007, Washington, DC — Americans believe that good writing skills are more important than ever, and they believe computers and other new technologies have a more positive than negative effect on helping students develop strong writing skills. These messages and others were drawn from survey participants of all income and education levels and all geographic areas. They are reported in The 2007 Survey on Teaching Writing, a national public opinion survey conducted for the National Writing Project by the research firm Belden Russonello & Stewart.
"Writing is the basis for most of our electronic communication today," said Richard Sterling, executive director of the National Writing Project. "The American public recognizes that our nation´s educators need support for learning to use technology tools to teach writing in this digital age," Sterling said.
The majority of Americans responding to the survey (74 percent) believe that becoming proficient in computer technology should be a high school graduation requirement, ranking its importance just below that of reading (94 percent) and writing (84 percent). Further, widely endorsed support for learning to use computers at a young age (76 percent), along with the belief that writing should be taught in all subjects and at all grade levels (74 percent), suggest that the public views technology as integral to learning to write well.
In addition, Americans generally agree that:
?A variety of computer applications contribute positively to students´ growth as writers.
?Creative applications such as PowerPoint presentations, doing homework on a computer, creating Web pages, writing blogs, and eMailing friends and family actually help young people to become better writers.
Mixed or negative views were registered on some specific uses:
?Spell-check programs received a mixed response, with 51 percent saying they hinder learning to spell, and 43 percent saying they help.
?Instant messaging received a negative response, with 60 percent of Americans saying it gets in the way of young people becoming better communicators.
The National Writing Project (NWP) is the premier effort to improve writing in America. NWP sites, located on university campuses, serve more than 135,000 educators annually. NWP continues to add new sites each year with the goal of placing the writing project within reach of every teacher in America. Through its professional development model, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners.