Impacts of Texting on Literacy

Voice of Literacy: Dr. Betsy Baker & Dr. Michelle Drouin

Meet The Special Guest!

  • Ph. D from Oxford University in Developmental Psychology
  • Teaches at Indiana University, Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Currently researching topics including: Facebook, texting and sexting

The Podcast...

  • December 6th, 2009
  • Discusses college students use of textisms
  • Hard to conduct because nobody wants to submit their texts to research
  • Out of the texts that were submitted there were no differences between 'texters' and 'non-texters'
  • For example: There were no difficulties in translating 'ur' to the appropriate forms or 'your' and 'you're'. Also there were no struggles in translating '2' into 'to' or 'two' or 'too'.

The Media...

The media reports several negative factors associated with texting. The most common rumor is that texting will ruin our English language. Even students think that the use of textisms are having a negative affect on their English, even if the research doesn't agree.

Advice for Parents...

  • "Cautiously Optimistic"
  • Children who can translate back and forth between textism and Standard English get higher literacy test results.
  • Predictions are made that higher results are from the child's ability to 'play with the language'

Advice for Teachers and Principals...

  • Make a clear distinction between when textisms are appropriate (informal communication) and inappropriate (formal communication).
  • Stay consistent with how much textism is allowed in the school

New Literacy Evolving....

  • Curriculum is beginning to teach both 'text speak' and Standard English
  • It will discuss when it is appropriate to use textism and when it isn't.
  • Seen as a new communication medium

Going Global...

Dr. Drouin later attended a convention called Scientific Society for Scientific Studies of Reading Conference. It included people from all over the globe. She specifically met with researchers from New Zealand, Taiwan, Finland, England, and fellow Americans. They planned cross cultural studies. For example: Most American ten year olds don't have cell phones, however, the majority of British ten year olds do. They researched how more frequent use of textisms will affect test results.

What's in store for Dr. Drouin?

Dr. Drouin expressed interest in continuing her research with not only textisms but also initialisms such as 'lol' or 'ttyl' and whether these expressions are used for effieciency or not. Also she will be researching why some children fluently switch between textisms and Standard English, and why others have difficulties with it.