Has social media improved child literacy?

Yesterday Mashable raised the question how has social media changed us? Over the past several years, we’ve seen social media evolve from web 2.0 technologies. We’ve witnessed the rise and fall of social networks, the creation of a new industry, and the political, cultural, and social impact of this new form of media. But has it changed us?

The first trend Mashable mentions is child literacy: 

It stands to reason that children who read and write more are better at reading and writing. And writing blog posts, status updates, text messages, instant messages, and the like all motivate children to read and write. Last month, The National Literacy Trust released the results of a survey of over 3000 children. They observed a correlation between children’s engagement with social media and their literacy. Simply put, social media has helped children become more literate. Indeed, Eurostat recently published a report drawing a correlation between education and online activity, which found that online activity increased with the level of formal activity (socio-economic factors are, of course, potentially at play here as well).

The survey of children (from England and Scotland) who text, blog, and use other aspects of social media focused on those between the ages of nine and sixteen. 24 percent of these children maintain a personal blog, 73 percent use instant messaging, and 82 percent text regularly.

The survey also indicated that connected kids use written language more frequently and fluently than non-connected kids. They also seem more confident. Of non-connected kids, 47 percent said their writing skills were good. Of blog/text/chat-users, 61 percent said their writing was “good or very good.”

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, told BBC News, “Our research suggests a strong correlation between kids using technology and wider patterns of reading and writing.”

While we don’t think technology is some magic bullet, BoardBuzz does believe that social media and other technologies can certainly improve student achievement. They key is effective implementation.

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