Sunday, April 27, 2008

Instant Messaging 's Effects on Our Brains!

Numerous linguistics experts have confirmed that instant messaging is not leading to the demise of the English language among our youth. Although some believe that shorthand used in instant messaging might be causing teens to transfer that form of communication to their academic work, studies conducted by reputable organizations such as the Pew Institute do not confirm that hypothesis. Rather, researchers have found that teens are smart enough to know to adjust their writing approach for the audience, and most teens will write differently for their teachers and adults than for peers.

To learn more about what researchers are finding out about the effects of instant messaging on teen’s communications styles, please refer to a thoughtful post found on Dennis Barone’s “Web of Language” blog. Note his posting on the topic also contains several hyperlinks to access the specific studies that he refers to in his post. You might want to read all are part of the studies. If you are taking an educational research course, you might find the topic of instant messaging and school writing worth exploring for a major assignment. The graphic above is offered by Dennis Barone on his blog and shows the screen of The Librarian General's warning as it is written. Please remember to post your comments after checking into Barone’s blog. Does his posting or the findings of research studies allay or intensify your concerns about the effects of instant message?

On another note, Barone also addresses concerns about text messaging while driving. As some of you might know, high school seniors in upstate New York were killed last year in a car accident when the teen driver was text messaging and hit a truck. However, that tragic accident speaks more so to cell phone use while driving than the effects of instant messaging on written communication for academic purposes.

Other concerns that Barone notes are students diverting their attention during classes to text message, but how is that different than in the old days when distracted students handwrote and passed notes to friends, or students at any time just sitting in class and doodling or daydreaming? Can we be “mind police” over the diversions students find during class time, or is the answer to create more stimulating lessons that engage students so deeply that the thought of diversions don’t even cross their minds? Moreover, do we blame the medium or the messenger?

Without further ado, here is the link you need to read more, and let’s hear from you!


Nicole said...

I have to say that I myself am a big texter. It is a effective means of communication between family, friends, and even my employer. I do notice though that from time to time I will catch myself abbreviating in conversations which sounds a little ridiculous. I have also seen that younger generations relay solely on texting and truely have their own language. Its just part of the progressive technology era we are a part of.

molly said...

I think students will inevitably be students. They have things on their minds other than what is taking place in the classroom. Therefore, I'm not sure it's fair to blame the medium alone; without the messenger the medium would not function. As a solution teachers might have a no-cell phone policy in their classrooms or allow students 5 mins of texting before or after class.

Jennifer G. said...

I am also a text messenger. It is just crazy to me that people think it is okay to text and drive. How can you be watching the road and typing text? (I have to admit before I had my son, I did text/drive a time or two.) The same people oppose talking on the phone and driving. Go figure!!!
I have taught elementary grades so I never saw a kid try to sneak and text during class as opposed to note writing. Thinking back to my own school days, I guess I would have talked to my friends more if I could have texted them. Texting may get kids to write more than they would have before- just not in school, on school time.

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