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Saturday, April 26, 2008

You Learn Something New Every Day

I attended a fundraiser for the Roosevelt class of 2010 last night. I was talking to a dad who attended our parent education night in the fall on electronic addiction. One thing we learned that night was that girls are more addicted to their cell phones and boys are more addicted to video games. But what this dad told me is that kids think e-mail is for old people (read: parents) and business uses. Texting or IMing is the way to go to communicate with friends. I don't know why that surprised me but thinking about it, being a teen is all about real-time experiences and not waiting for an answer to an e-mail.

I thought about this as I read this article in the NY Times about electronic language creeping into students' schoolwork. From the article,

"Nearly two-thirds of 700 students surveyed said their e-communication style sometimes bled into school assignments, according to the study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, in partnership with the College Board’s National Commission on Writing. About half said they sometimes omitted proper punctuation and capitalization in schoolwork. A quarter said they had used emoticons like smiley faces. About a third said they had used text shortcuts like “LOL” for “laugh out loud."

"Most teenagers do not think of their e-mail messages, text messages and social network postings as “real writing,” the study found."

What do the experts say?

“I think this is not a worrying issue at all,” said Richard Sterling, emeritus executive director of the National Writing Project, which aims to improve the teaching of writing.

When e-mail shorthand — or for that matter, slang — appears in academic assignments, Professor Sterling said, it is an opportunity for teachers to explain that while such usages are acceptable in some contexts, they do not belong in schoolwork. And as the English language evolves, he said, some e-mail conventions, like starting sentences without a capital letter, may well become accepted practice.

“I think in the future, capitalization will disappear,” said Professor Sterling, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley."

No capitalization? I'd miss that.

I thought the stats on blogging and journaling were very interesting.

"More than half of the teenagers surveyed had a profile on a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace, 27 percent had an online journal or blog and 11 percent had a personal Web site."

"Almost half of black teenagers said they wrote a personal journal, compared with 3 in 10 whites. And nearly half of the girls keep a journal, compared with only 3 in 10 boys."

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