(If you need to catch up, check out Bêtes Noires Three, Four, and Five.)
Raise your hand if you remember when Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was released in 1991. Remember how great it was? How it totally blew you away when you first heard it? And how, three months later, it had been played exactly 23,452 times on every radio station and you swore that you’d throw up if you had to hear it one more time? If you’re too young to remember this happening to Nirvana, then just substitute whatever media darling du jour is being ruined by the evil of overexposure. Continue reading →
Last week, I shared some examples of the writing I see from students at the community college where I work. Most of it comes from essays written before they take writing classes, so the hopeful assumption is that they will improve as they go through their college career. In reaction to that post, Renée over at Lessons from Teachers and Twits brought to my attention this video posted on Profesorbaker’s Blog. It is an interview of Professor Andrea Lunsford, Stanford University’s Director of Writing and Rhetoric, who conducted a longitudinal study of writing abilities, following 190 students at Stanford for almost six years. She explains that she found no significant influence of technology on the quality of writing.
What can this study really tell us? How accurately does it reflect what is happening in schools and colleges these days? Can we really conclude from it that technology is not exerting any influence on the English language or writing skills? Or must we limit our conclusions to more modest proportions? Continue reading →