The days of traditional college writing instruction are nearly over, contends a Michigan State University researcher who found that college students now rank texting as the No. 1 form of writing and cell phones as a top writing platform. Michigan State University reports.
Lead researcher Jeff Grabill, professor of writing and rhetoric, studied the writing behaviors of more than 1,300 first-year college students across the nation from a variety of institutions and locations from April to June.
Texting is indeed writing, students said, and they value their texts more than any other writing style – even above social networking status updates and comments.
People may argue texting is bad writing, but it’s writing many people do every day, said Grabill, co-director of MSU’s Writing in Digital Environments Research Center.
Contrary to the popular belief that “kids these days don’t write,” college students lead complex writing lives and write more than any other generation, he said.
Other key findings:
-- E-mail is for “old people.” Students use it primarily to communicate with professors and parents, and while they do it frequently they don’t value it highly.
-- Students prefer to write alone rather than collaborate with classmates.
-- Most writing on Facebook is related to interpersonal messaging. Students more often comment on posts and status updates of friends than post things to their own profiles. They also report using Facebook for writing everything from lists to screenplays to poetry.
Cheating and paying bribes are common during exams, but Rong Chhun, head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said the problem appeared to have worsened this year. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"Besides copying answers from each other, candidates in my room could even make a phone call outside during the exams to get answers," said a female student who asked to remain anonymous.
Several students interviewed by AFP said they had bribed teachers to allow them to check notes they had smuggled into the exams, or answer sheets allegedly sold in advance by teachers outside the schools.
Boomers in their mid-50s and early 60s are the only ones still talking.
The fall of the call is driven by 18- to 34-year-olds, whose average monthly voice minutes have plunged from about 1,200 to 900 in the past two years, according to research by Nielsen.
Texting among 18- to 24-year-olds has more than doubled in the same period, from an average of 600 messages a month two years ago to more than 1,400 texts a month, according to Nielsen.
Young people say they avoid voice calls because the immediacy of a phone call strips them of the control that they have over the arguably less-intimate pleasures of texting, e-mailing, Facebooking or tweeting. They even complain that phone calls are by their nature impolite, more of an interruption than the blip of an arriving text.
Children as young as seven are more likely to own a mobile phone than a book, figures show, fuelling fears over a decline in reading, reports The Telegraph.
... As part of the latest study, the National Literacy Trust surveyed more than 17,000 schoolchildren aged seven to 16.
It found that 85.5 per cent of pupils had their own mobile phone, compared with 72.6 per cent who had their own books. Among children in Key Stage 2 – aged seven to 11 – 79.1 per cent had a mobile compared with 72.7 per cent who had access to books.
The findings come amid continuing concerns over the effect of modern technology on young people.
NPR on how cell phone text messages help teach Pakistani women to read.
The Bunyad Foundation established a program to help teach them basic literacy. At the risk of ridicule from their families, they enrolled in a program where they could learn the alphabet, buy a cheap cell phone and then get text messages on the phone to practice.
AOL News reports on texting as a teaching tool experimented in several schools across the US.
So, for subjects ranging from Spanish to science, from homework help to exam reminders, teachers around the country are beginning to allow students to text in class.
"Being able to text in class is just something new and in a way rejuvenates us because it is not the usual 'take notes, then do homework,' like we do in the rest of our classes," 16-year-old Pulaski student Kevin Dunford said. "It's a new flavor."
... Opponents of cell phone use in classrooms argue that not all students have phones. And even those who do might be paying hefty fees for text messages.
Riverdale Country School, an elite private school in the Bronx, asked middle-schoolers to voluntarily forsake instant messaging, chat, texts, and Facebook for two days, to experience life unconnected, reports The New York Times.
This text-free Sunday, the Riverdale students said, was unusually relaxing. They were shocked at how quickly they finished their homework, undistracted by an always-open video chat, or checking in on Facebook or responding to the hundred messages they typically get in a day.
... None looked pale and ashen; none were twitching, at least visibly.
According to Reuters, a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that one third of U.S. teenagers with cell phones send more than 100 texts a day and that Texting has even eclipsed cell phone calls, instant messaging, social networks and talking face-to-face.
... The percentage of teens with cell phones who sent at least one text message a day increased from 38 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in September 2009, according to the study.
Meanwhile 38 percent of teens said they daily make at least one cell phone call, 30 percent said they talk on a landline phone and 24 percent said they used instant messaging.
Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Older teen girls ages 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort. The youngest teen boys are the most resistant to texting – averaging 20 messages per day.
... Campus Safety magazine polled "campus protection officials" last spring and found that 87 percent said their schools currently use text messaging for emergency alerts, and that an average of 48.9 percent of students sign up for such programs.
Under a new law, teachers in Denmark have the right to confiscate their students cell phones - and for an indefinite period, if the student does not heed warnings to stop sending text messages during lessons.
Previously teachers could confiscate a phone, but had to return it to the student after class.
American teenagers send an average of 10 text messages per hour they are not in school or sleeping, according to research by The Nielsen Company, reports Marketing Vox.
Nielsen predicts overall text message usage will grow as the heavy text messaging population ages and entices the older generations to text with them in order to stay in contact with them. The average text message number has increased every year, but the huge room for growth that is still remaining has been underestimated given the penchant for texting among the 17 and under segment.
Texas Tech issued a release late Friday regarding a self-reported violation of NCAA rules in July involving impermissible text messages to recruits of three sports, including football. Sports ESPN reports.
The school said the violations were discovered during a routine review by the athletic department of cell-phone records of Texas Tech coaches.
NCAA rules bar the sending of text messages to prospective athletes until after a student has signed a national letter of intent with the university. Aside from football, the violations also occurred in softball and men's golf. Many of the self-imposed penalties have been fulfilled, the school said.
... Children who are heavy users of mobile phone text abbreviations such as LOL (laughing out loud), plz (please), l8ter (later) and xxx (kisses), are unlikely to be problem spellers and readers, a new study funded by the British Academy has found.
The research, carried out on a sample of 8-12 year olds over an academic year, revealed that levels of “textism” use could even be used to predict reading ability and phonological awareness in each pupil by the end of the year.
Moreover, the proportion of textisms used was observed to increase with age, from just 21% of Year 4 pupils to 47% in Year 6, revealing that more sophisticated literacy skills are needed for textism use.
The study conclusions will come as a surprise to many who believe that textisms are vandalising the English language.
There have been as many articles on the benefits of text messging to the English language as studies condemning it's negative impact on students' writing skills, but this is the first time a major English litterature exam, the GCSE English, will actually include text messaging questions, The Telegraph reports.
In the new exam, being introduced by the Assessment Qualifications Alliance (AQA), students will get 10 per cent of their overall mark for the section on text message linguistics.
As part of their answer they will be required to include examples of common text shortcuts.
The subject of text messaging will be taught from next September as part of the Studying Spoken Language module intended to make GCSEs harder.
Not all faculty members agree, to some it's the ultimate "dumbing down". Read full article.
The researchers investigated a project to help students and educators use mobile phones and Wikis (user-contributed and edited web pages) sand in higher education. The success of this project suggests that the same approach could be extended widely to the almost universally available technologies used by today's students.
... In order to test their hypothesis with one particular form of technology, the team charged their students with gathering and uploading field data using their mobile phones and then using a browser interface to collate, edit, and annotate that data on a Wiki platform. The use of in-phone cameras and video recorders allowed the students to collect simple visuals for incorporation into the Wiki too, without their having to gain access to expensive video camera equipment.
Pupils at French primary schools and middle schools could be banned from using mobile phones in school under draft legislation approved Thursday by the French Senate. PC World reports.
The measure, proposed by the government, is just one clause of an enormous piece of environmental legislation that must still be debated by the National Assembly before it has any chance of becoming law.
Nearly half of French youths are using their mobile phones in class, with a majority saying they had answered calls during lessons, according to a survey published Tuesday, reports the AFP and some seven percent of students surveyed said they had surreptitiously filmed their teachers.
They used a written questionnaire to examine the nature and the volume of mobile phone calls and text messaging as well as computer use including e-mail, instant messaging and accessing social networking sites.
Imagine a dictionary that offers tips on text messaging abbreviations for Indian cell phone users and has a Shakespeare guide too. Well that's exactly what two new Collins dictionaries have to offer. Samay Live reports.
The Collins Cobuild Learner's Illustrated Dictionary includes text messaging abbreviations for cell phone users, said Rob Scriven, managing director of the Collins Language Division.
..."Dictionaries have changed over the years. They have become more local in flavour incorporating indigenous words so that they are more friendly for non-English speaking users," Scriven told.
Some say technology has made nagging less annoying.
Texts are less emotionally charged and seem to inspire less resistance, less eye-rolling, says Longwell, the McLean mother of three. "It's not as painful for them to hear it by text. It becomes grouped with the friendly communication," she says. "They can't hear the nagging."
Or so she hopes.
Joe Lanzafama, 52, a father of two in Stafford, has another tech-minded approach. He nags his seventh-grade daughter about cleaning up after herself -- by text, by phone, in person. Recently, he landed on an idea that he thinks might get results.
A text: Take a picture of your room clean and send it to me.
Yet another study, this time from Belgium, claims that text messages on mobile phones are making an impact on the quality of sleep for almost 50% of the 16 year old people. [via NewsReviews.org]
The Leuven study on media and adolescent health was conducted in Flanders in which about 2500 children studying in 1st and 4th year - aged 13 and 16 years were asked how many times they wake in the night because of incoming SMS messages in their mobile phones.
In the 13 year old children, 13.4% reported that they wake up 1-3 times in a month, 5.8% wake up one in a week, 5.3% wake up many times in a week and 2.2% wake up every night.
In the group of 16 year old children, 20.8% wake up 1-3 times in a month, 10.8% wake up at least one time in a week, 8.9% wake up many times in a week and 2.9% wake up every night.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a middle school honor student, who it says was wrongfully expelled from school after authorities illegally searched his cell phone and found what they claimed were photos depicting "gang-related activity" - when in reality the photos mainly depicted the student dancing in the bathroom of his own home. Cellular News reports.
... The lawsuit charges that the searches and expulsion violated Richard's rights under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as his rights under the Mississippi Constitution.
"This is a case where an honor student was expelled from school because a police officer and school officials decided without any basis that innocent pictures of a kid dancing conveyed 'gang-related' messages," said Reginald T. Shuford, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. "School officials and the police officer involved never pointed to anything that would suggest that pictures of Richard dancing were linked to a gang in any way. From the day he had his phone confiscated until the day the county school board expelled him, school and police officials showed a callous disregard for Richard's rights."
Students from around the world will be able to learn together by using SMS in the new school year 2009-2010. Cellular News reports.
An IICD supported Global Teenager Project will experiment with using SMS to ensure that schools without internet access can also participate in one of the world's largest online learning programs.
Although the Global Teenager Project was already widely spread throughout the world, the program was only accessible for schools with access to the internet.
Through the internet, classes around the world ask each other questions about a certain theme (such as 'politics in my country', 'teen life' and 'how HIV/AIDS affects the world') that they also talked about in class. This way they earn from each others cultures.
With the new SMS component, it is now also possible for schools in rural areas with very limited or no access to the internet at all to participate in the project.
... The first countries that will use SMS for learning in the Global Teenager Project are most likely Zambia, Ghana, South-Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, Romania and the Netherlands.
Schools across the country have been cracking down on cell phone use but nowhere has that stance been stronger than in Texas where state regulations allow individual districts to confiscate the devices and charge up to $15 for their return. ABCNews reports.
Across the state at the Klein Independent School District teachers have been confiscating cell phones and slapping students with the $15 fee for two years.
In that time, the district has collected $100,948 from students.
... In fact, the district didn't budget the money or even know how much was coming in to its 39 schools from cell phone use until a reporter asked.
According to a study conducted by Joel Benenson of Common Sense Media, teens send 25-percent of their total text messages while killing time in class. Switched reports.
The pollsters broke the numbers down and found that students send 110 texts a week during class time, which equates to over three texts per class.
The study also determined that half of all students have used their phones to either store notes they can consult during a test, or to text a friend for a test answer. Only half of all the students polled believe this phone cheating to be a "serious offense."
No texting, no Facebook, no iPod; teens cope with being unplugged at sleepaway camp. Cellular News reports.
For a generation used to texting, Facebook and YouTube, going away to sleepaway camp can be a bit unnerving. Many outdoor camps don't allow cell phones, laptops or iPods, and there is no computer lab for them to update their pages.
... Experts agree that unplugging is a great idea. But it will be a "shock to the system" for those who are digitally dependent, says Anastasia Goodstein, author of "Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online."
... While teens will inevitably make friends at camp, 10 friends in your bunk is not the same as hundreds on Facebook, says Gary Rudman of GTR Consulting, author of the upcoming "2009 gTrend Report", which focuses on teens and technology.
Eight Chinese who used high-tech communications equipment, including mobile phones and wireless earpieces, to help their children cheat at university entrance exams have been jailed on state secret charges, local media said, reports Yahoo! Tech (cf also article in the BBC).
The eight, from the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang, got together in 2007 to plot how to help their children as "they knew their achievements were not ideal," the official Legal Daily said.
One of the parents hired university students to provide answers which were sent to the children via wireless earphones while they were in the exam room, the report said.
But their ruse was discovered after police detected "abnormal radio signals" near the school, the newspaper said.
The parents were given jail terms ranging from six months to three years after being found guilty of illegally obtaining state secrets, it added, without saying what happened to their children.
The parliament in Tajikistan has adopted amendments to laws on education which will now ban the use of mobile phones in all educational facilities in the country, which covers both schools and universities. The ban applies to both students and teachers, reports Cellular News.
These measures were taken following multiple requests from the country's president, and are intended to raise quality of teaching in educational institutions," a Tajik lawmaker said.
The decree also banned students from using their own cars to travel to their studies.