Educational Policy, Testing Writing, and Developing Multimedia Composing Skills
The challenge of composing in multimedia environments has not escaped American’s education community. In September 2002, the College Board-the nonprofit organization of over 4,300 schools and colleges-created the National Commission on Writing to respond to the board’s plan to add a writing component to the SAT exam and to analyze the state of writing instruction in U.S. schools. Among its many findings, the National Commission on Writing (2003) argued that “just as [computers] have transformed schools, offices, and homes, [they] have introduced entirely new ways of generating, organizing, and editing text” (p. 22). Because of these changes,
In other words, teachers should not reject the types of prose that students create in chat rooms, in Instant Messages (IMs), on web pages, or in text messages out of hand. Although these forms of writing appear less rigorous than traditional academic prose, they are the adaptations of language to new modes and new media. Like water filling up a newly dug hole at the beach, language adapts and shapes itself to new containers. Still, the creation of new forms of acceptable language (R u cRus?—i.e., “Are you serious?”—in text messaging) does not mean that the conventions of written English are discarded in all environments. Rather, students need to know how to “code switch,” or how to move from one mode of writing and talking to another.