TMCnet Feature
June 18, 2018

How Technology Affects Academic Writing Skills


Students often complain that they receive too many academic writing assignments, and professors complain, that the way students approach those assignments has changed drastically over the year. Students tend to use more extra tools applicable to the variety of academic writing tasks, and professors tend to compensate this gain in time with the even more increased amount of essays, research papers and case studies to deal with. Looks like a vicious circle, but there is no way students will give up on modern tools making their college or university life at least a bit easier.



We’ve decided to provide you with a small summary regarding the influence technology has on academic writing skills and give some tips on how to use it wisely and efficiently.

Positive Effects

  • Technology gives students what professors don’t. It is not a secret that in modern colleges and universities most of the professors have more students to deal with than previously. There are social-economic reasons for this, but it doesn’t mean students’ writing skills should suffer from it.
  • Technology saves time. Using some technical ways and means students save time which they can use to improve their writing and do more meticulous research.
  • Technology helps in getting better grades. Students use grammar and plagiarism checkers, urban dictionaries and citation generators to produce better papers and consequently to get better grades.

Negative Effects

  • Students trust technology more than they trust themselves. Different checkers and other tools have flaws, and the cheaper they are, the more "faults" they mostly have. It can backfire.
  • Students become helpless without technology. They forget how to proofread their own texts and don't analyze the recommendations given by the checkers and other proofreading tools.

Top-5 Writing Tools for Your Academic Success

Though there is a recognized negative impact, the use of technologies in essay writing still can be seen as a positive thing. Of course, students have to use such tools wisely, not trusting them completely, making double checks and keep learning how to do everything on their own, in case there is no online help coming. Here are some of the most popular and trustworthy tools which can be used to make someone's essay writing process better, easier and more successful.

  1. Grammar Checkers. They are the first tools one would think when speaking about technology and essay writing together. After some tests, we can recommend Grammarly.com, Ginger.com, and 1Checker.com. The latter should be installed on your PC, which is not always suitable, but its free version is very good in detecting mistakes. Ginger didn't disappoint us either, but Grammarly gives better explanations regarding the needed changes in grammar, punctuation, and style. Speaking of writing skills, not only proofreading options, we would recommend using a paid version of Grammarly, as it costs not too much and not only checks your papers but teaches you. Using it for half a year, you can indeed see the progress. 
  2. Citation Generators. It is better if you find the most suitable one yourself. Citation generators are used to make citation entries automatically for the works cited pages and in-text citation. Choose a generator that can make citations based on the ISBN — it will save your time greatly. Pay attention to the choice of citation styles. For example, they shouldn't be just listed as MLA, APA, etc., they should be listed as "MLA 9th edition," etc. You should be able to add as many authors as you want, which is helpful when it comes to some peer-reviewed articles. When you receive a generated citation entry, check spaces, because when you fill the given form, you can add some extra spaces after, for example, a year of publication, and not all of the generators can detect and delete such flaws automatically.
  3. Audio Converters. Recently it became popular among students to record some parts of the future essays and later decipher audio files into text. You can use VoiceBase, Transcribe, or any other suitable software. This way is the most popular for the students commuting a lot or those who like jogging and thinking about their writing assignments. Even if you sit at home, sometimes speaking is much faster and more comfortable than writing. First, you will spend more time, because audio converters are not 100% easy to use, but later you will not find it tricky. 
  4. Writing and Editing Programs. Standard windows and OS programs for writing and editing are efficient but boring. Sometimes you just need something better to make you concentrated on your creative writing tasks. For this purpose, you can use programs similar to the Scrivener – suitable and pure writing and editing tool. There are editing programs blocking the incoming messages on your computer and programs which help you track your writing time. And, finally, there are a lot of academic writing services which produce custom written essays, research papers, and even dissertations. We can recommend SmartWritingService as the best academic writing company.
  5. Vocabulary Boosters. You can try a TwinWord writer, which helps you choose the suitable word in the particular situation. You can use https://corpus.byu.edu to get to know which phrases and words are used in the particular impressions. Here you can also check whether the specific preposition is widely used with a given word. Sign up for a Merriam-Webster newsletter to learn one new word each day and don't forget about Urban Dictionary to widen your vocabulary horizon.

When using some of the tools listed above ask yourself "Do they make my writing skills better or they make better only my papers?" It is important that the technology has a positive impact on your skills and abilities, not only on the final drafts you submit to your professor. Find "online teachers" which will be the most suitable for you, and use them intensely to become better in essay writing. Who knows, maybe the ability to compose flawless texts will become your well-paid occupation one day? Good luck!
 


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