Pottieger Learns and Networks

January 23, 2009

Leet Speak

Filed under: Professional Learning Networking (PLN),Uncategorized — San @ 10:12 pm
Tags: , ,

Using "IM" in our Daily Lives

I am reminded of the online article pasted below when I read a tweet where the woman had not written out words in a birthday greeting card but instead had used shortened versions of the words as in a tweet or text message.  For many of us, using the condensed language comes naturally.  For others, it's like learning a foreign language and has no place in their daily lives.

Do you welcome Leet in your daily life?  In the classroom?

(To learn Leet and other foreign languages, I recommend going to http://www.transparent.com/wotd/index.htm.)

Using 'IM Speak' in the Classroom

Many teachers cringe when they read students' "IM speak," the shorthand language adopted for instant messaging. One educator, though, says that schools can use instant messaging to spark an interest in writing.

Read the Globe and Mail article:

She's all 4 IM in skul. RU 2?

Globe and Mail Update

Do u think text-speak haz a place in skul?

English teacher Julia Spatafora does, and she makes the case for incorporating instant-messaging into literacy curriculums in her recently completed master's thesis for Queen's University.

Rather than ignore or forbid instant messaging, and the sometimes ugly Net-speak it spawns (LOL), Ms. Spatafora argues that teachers should use teenagers' love of instant messaging as a tool to spark their interest in writing. Her thesis is based in part on her own experience leading a writing group for teenagers who completed assignments that incorporated instant messaging.

She talked to The Globe and Mail about why schools should spend time on IM.

In your experience, how do most teachers look upon instant messaging?

I think most teachers are kind of scared of the technology. Instant messaging is something that's seen as a distraction and something that's degrading [students'] language skills. I think that can be called the general view among teachers.

What do you think the benefits of instant messaging could be, in the classroom?

There seems to be this increasing view that the literacy being taught in schools isn't really pertinent or relevant to students' lives. And the students in my studies and some that I've read about in other research studies seem to say, well, it's not important to me, it's nothing I really need to use. They especially talk about the literacy test, the EQAO [Education Quality and Accountability Office standardized test] - they think it's really irrelevant to their lives, and that it's not building on skills that they need. One thing about instant messaging is that they do use it every day, and it may be a tool that they will be using in the work force in the future. A lot of jobs are adopting their own instant messaging systems in the workplace. So it's something they really can relate to.

What about spelling and grammar? They tend to be atrocious.

It is, and that's why I'd call it maybe a starting point into further developing their literacy skills. When you start writing, if you are all caught up in spelling and grammar, sometimes it's difficult to get the words on the page. ... What I'm thinking is using instant messaging and just throwing away that concern about spelling and grammar in the beginning stages of the writing process, to just kind of get the words flowing and the ideas out. And then going back and really polishing your work - that would be another step in the process.

How do you teach the need to polish?

I think really just talking about it in the classroom. That's one problem; they go into the English classroom and they don't talk about when they're sending e-mails, who they're sending to, and when [text-speak] might be appropriate and when they should try to be more formal. ...We really talk about literacy as something singular in schools; like you're literate, or you're not. ... We really need to think of literacy as something plural, attach an S on there, and then we can start understanding where and when things are appropriate.

But my inner Old Fogey is saying there's no S on literacy - there's one proper way to write, and you've got to teach children that way. What do you say to that?

Language is always changing, and the things that influence it are ... the people that use it. We're always going to have different rules. I wonder, because sometimes I have professors that are a little bit older who think that the terms I use might be colloquial, or the words I've written might be too slang, or a little too common for my thesis, let's say. As we move through generations I think we have a different idea of what's formal. And I think that idea of what's formal will slightly change. ... We'll have new words and new ways of saying things. ... It's really just a matter of understanding each other, and being as consistent as we can. I think that's what's important. And I think students need to realize consistency is important. Instant messaging might seem like a threat, because it is so inconsistent, but I think teachers can use it to their advantage to teach things that are important.

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080226.wlmessage26/BNStory/PersonalTech/home)

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