Texting 101

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How texting is impacting students' writing?

It is impacting them in a way where it is teaching students the difference between 'text language' and language used in real life. Texting today is not meant to be used in formal writing, but it can be seen as another language. It has also changed the way that we communicate with people.

According to an article on Scholastic.com, texting can:

  • encourage phonology - abbreviating words such as, 'tonight' to '2nite.'
  • allow kids to play with words
  • encourage reading and creativity

The thing about texting is that teachers find that it hinders students from learning and that it is a total distraction. Back when texting was not around, handwriting notes and sending it to classmates would have been considered a total distraction also. Texting is not much more of a distraction than passing notes to a friend.

Evolution of texting

John McWhorter, a linguistics professor from Columbia University, said at a TED talk in 2013, "If humanity has existed for 24 hours, writing came about at 11:07 p.m.." Texting in itself is not writing exactly. It can be considered as "fingered speech" or like another type of language.

Not only do students learn about abbreviating words from texting. There has also been a development of unwritten rules of texting that have emerged and that many people can consider as texting etiquette.
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Can texting benefit our student's writing?

There are studies done that show that kids that have recently received or sent a text message have done worse on a grammar exam than those who have not.

However, I believe:
  • They are learning when to switch from text writing to formal writing and vice versa.
  • Texting does encourage students to write more.
  • With guidance, students can learn to use texting as a tool to practice formal writing.