Linguist John McWhorter defended the language of most teenage girls (and quick-typing adults) in his TED talk.
Teachers and parents alike bemoan texting as the fall of literacy, turning writing into an informal landscape that neglects the tenets of language. But during his TED talk, linguist John McWhorter introduced a more positive view of the language-changing phenomenon: Texting is actually a “linguistic miracle happening right under our noses.”
McWhorter argued that language is not necessarily the written word. “If humanity existed for 24 hours, writing only came around at 11:07 p.m.,” he said. So the rest of that time was taken up by the spoken word, the natural conversational tone that doesn’t always come through in writing.
If you’ve ever looked at a teenager’s text message and thought it looked more like a kindergartener’s scrawl, you might not be far off.
Middle school students who frequently use “tech-speak”—omitting letters to shorten words and using homophone symbols, such as @ for “at” or 2nite for “tonight”—performed worse on a test of basic grammar, according to a new study in New Media & Society.
Drew P. Cingel, a doctoral candidate in media, technology, and society at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., conducted the experiment when he was an undergraduate with the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University in University Park, Pa. under director S. Shyam Sundar. The researchers surveyed 228 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in central Pennsylvania on their daily habits, including the number of texts they sent and received, their attitudes about texting, and their other activities during the day, such as watching television or reading for pleasure. The researchers then assessed the students using 22 questions adapted from a 9th-grade grammar test to include only topics taught by 6th grade, including verb/noun agreement, use of correct tense, homophones, possessives, apostrophes, comma usage, punctuation, and capitalization.
Although the idea of permitting students to text in class may appear problematic at first, with the appropriate supports, teachers can take advantage of the technology and, in turn, create more meaningful and engaging learning experiences. Here are a few examples as to how teachers can utilize text message technology in their classrooms and increase student engagement and content mastery
Nine out of 10 teens text and use social media sites — a good chunk of them daily — but they still prefer communicating face to face, according to a survey.
Many U.S. teens say they are addicted to social media and texting and often want to unplug. But they feel positive overall about how social media sites such as Facebook and text messaging have helped them connect with friends and family.
The mixed feelings that teens have about digital communication sheds new light on a population growing up immersed in online technology. Research is scant on the behavioral and developmental effects of technology on youth.
Cell phones are a terrific tool to support student engagement and achievement in reading and writing. To follow are some ideas explaining how teachers are doing just that by using cell phones in the way they are most commonly used among youth — for texting and group texting. We will also look at a newly emerging trend…using cell phones to write novels.
Our students are reading and writing more than ever. In the 21st century, this reading and writing often takes place through the lightening fast thumbs of teens. Although some parents and teachers complain that text messaging is ruining the language, research is showing that it is, in fact, a benefit to students phonemic awareness, spelling, and use of words (Yarmey, 2011; Plester & Wood, 2008, Malson & Tarica, 2011; Fresco, 2005; Dunnewind, 2003; Miners, 2009; McCarroll, 2005; Elder, 2009). When we rethink and revision what is happening when our teens and tweens text, all sorts of learning possibilities emerge.
[Great ideas of how to use texting in class, more suitable for secondary and tertiary students]
Tenth-grader Kayli Work is going to be late for English class.
Where some students might wrestle with their anxiety in silence, Work, a student at Nutana Collegiate Institute in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, takes out her cell phone, flicks a few keys, and hits send. She’s just sent a text message to her teacher, who will be much more understanding about her tardiness thanks to the heads up. If she ends up missing the lesson, she will receive her assignments and their due dates from her teacher right on her phone.
“It’s a lot less stressful if you can text your teacher,” Work said, “instead of going in late and worrying what they’re going to say.”
For all the high-profile talk among educators grappling with whether or not to use cell phones in the classroom, the chatter has been far more hushed when it comes to using them to reach students outside it.
Short Message Service (SMS), commonly referred to as text messaging, is among one of the most widely available forms of electronic communication today and has become one of the preferred ways for students to communicate with each other. During this online session offered 11/17/2011 I discussed the dynamics of incorporating SMS into teaching. Technical specifics and free apps for sending/receiving SMS messages with students without giving out one’s personal cell phone number were shared.