Pressto: A new way of teaching writing in the Digital Age

Anjali Darji, Rancocas Valley Regional High School

Born of ambitions to be a simple student journalism platform, Pressto has grown into a tool that takes the dread out of writing, making it something teachers and students love. 

“I go around the country, and I go to these different EdTech conferences, I see hundreds of different new applications for math and science and STEM and STEAM and a little bit for reading. And really nothing, specifically, for writing,” Daniel Stedman, founder and CEO of Pressto, said in a recent interview with the Headliners of Summer newsroom. “And our mission … is to make learning to write fun for kids and easier for teachers … and our unique pathway to doing this is through student journalism.”

Daniel Stedman talks with the Headliners of Summer newsroom via Zoom on Aug. 17, 2022.
(Headliners of Summer)

Pressto was originally meant to be a free, fun, and expressive platform for kids, but it has evolved into more. It now includes other features that allow students to create journalism and print out their zines – which are small non-commercial print works – while simultaneously strengthening students’ writing abilities. Through live feedback, writers can see their strengths and reading level, as well as suggested edits, such as consistent voice tenses. 

Pressto is not only revolutionizing the way writing is being taught to students, but also changing the way students perceive the skill.

Pressto is targeted for those in grades four through eight. Although Stedman intends to grow a high school audience in the future, Pressto currently aims to spark the imaginations of younger minds and prepare them for a world of digital communication, including games and social media.

Courtesy of Pressto

“We would like to help kids become more thoughtful consumers and creators of content,” Stedman said. “And that content creation can be everything, from the way that [kids] talk to [their] friends in Fortnite and Roblox, to the way that [they] comment on people’s social media posts, and then, of course, the way that kids create their own social media posts.”

Stedman went on to speak about how social media and news have been entwined and how education must evolve with digital changes, especially with many relying on social platforms for their news. 

“Not everything you read is fact. And there is a difference between fact and opinion,” Stedman said. “I think kids can figure that out quickly for themselves, but I do think they need to be shown. And if we can help do that through project-based learning and actually have kids do an opinion piece and then do a news piece and then [with] the news piece they are held to somewhat a higher rigor.”

Through encouraging student journalism at the elementary and intermediate-school levels, students’ abilities to navigate information on digital platforms and writing skills are improved. Pressto is taking writing education into the digital age and makes it an enjoyable experience for students and teachers alike. 

(For more information about Pressto, go to its home page HERE.)

–Aug. 25, 2022–