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TCC 2009: Text Messaging and Implications for its Use in Education

My live notes from TCC 2009

Text Messaging and Implications for its Use in Education
by Dean K. Tomita


– there is a disconnect in the classroom and what is outside of school

The Natives are Coming
– digital natives – born after 1980
– 2/3 own a cell
– tool of choice is instant messaging
– email is for old people (if you are using email as primary comm tool, you are old)
– instant messagning 40 minutes a day
– 88% have access to the internet

Text Messaging
– instant messaging (IM), short messaging service (SMS), microblogging (twitter)
– brief, immediate, easy to use
– google talk, aim, jaiku, twitter, pownce
– students view it as talking not writing (joyce, 2008)
– important distinction, like having a chat with someone rather than writing
– errors connoted spontaneity and speed of response (joyce, 2008)
– how important you are to the person receiving text

– twitter is the most popular (~1million users)
– posts limited to 140 characters
– purpose: what are you doing?
– by design very public
– options to limit scope of community

Picture of US Airways Flight that landed in Hudson
– someone tweeted the picture
– twitter was the first to report the crash
– possibly also the earthquake in Italy as well
– the tool has morphed from “what are you doing” to using it as a marketing tool

Why teach it in school?
– helps to teach 21st century skills
– another form of literacy (joyce, 2008)
– digital “footprints” (richardson, 2008)
– need to learn this method of communication
– teach kids how to communicate within the medium

Twitter and communities
– support communities of practice
– sharing of resources: PD, links, books, tips
– back channel, live blogging
– co presence & ambient awareness, connection to community
– conversational tone, informal
– sense of knowing people better
– feel closer to them
– found that this is true within a team (not necessarily with his students)

Proponents say
– encourages students to write more
– more exposure to the written word
– greater literacy attainment (petrillo, 2006)
– IM lingo sparks ideas and creativity (Lee, 2002)
– evolution of the english language? (O’Connor, 2005)
– is the language beginning to change
– need more research in this area as well
– meets need for socializing (jacobs, 2008)

Critics say
– destroying the ways kids read, think & write (shaughnessy, 2008)
– less able to separate formal and informal english (o’connor, 2005)
– use “U” for “you”
– use “4” for “for”
– don’t notice that this is happening because they do it so much outside of school
– impact face-to-face interactions
– Is there a balance between the two?

What do you think?
– text messaging in education: hurtful or helpful?
– about even among participants

So what now?
– understand different contexts for writing
– typographic and digital literacies (informal)
– how to itegrate it into school (brainstorming, etc)
– needs to be addressed in some way and figure out how to leverage it in the schools
– good for one not good for the other
– formal writing is formal; informal is informal and use these tools to do so
– need to know how to use the tools in real world when graduate
– learn it now so can use it properly and responsibly later
– in and out of school literacies
– if we don’t teach it to the kids, who will?
– inclusion and infusion
– don’t think of it as an add on to lesson planning but include/infuse it into the planning and learning

How can we expect our students to use these technologies if we don’t model it for them?

These social media networking tools are here to stay. The question is what are we going to address it?

Websites shared in comments section:

Top 100 Tools for the Twittering Teacher

Nine Great Reasons Why Teachers Should Use Twitter

Twitter for Teachers

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