Technology and modern language skills
Language skills have greatly been enhanced as technology has exponentially grown over a short period of time; critics may conquer but the benefits hugely outweigh their criticism.
Educators have long come to a unified agreement to divide the subject of language skills into 4 majors groups: speaking, listening, reading and writing. To continue, the four major language skills can formerly be organized into two groups: oral and writing.
Human history has demonstrated the evolution of the usage of language skills. Ancient Egyptians once used hieroglyphics to capture their stories which in the present time can still be read and preserved for future generations. The reason behind the usage of language skills is to communicate with the now and preserve knowledge for the future which is exactly what technology does.
In 1876 the first telephone was introduced to the world. Later, telephones became a common necessity as they gave users easy access to friends, colleagues and various individuals who resided over great distances. The telephone phenomenon amplified the normal usage of two of the four language skills: speaking and listening. People are no longer limited to face to face encounters; they are now able to call friends and family who live thousands of miles away with the ease of a dial. Technology has now added a new level to the speaking and listening experience which has overall enriched the practice of our language skills. Continuing from 1876, technology has further matured giving birth to cell phones which later lit the fire for the future text messaging obsession among teens. Critics argue that text messaging depreciates vocabulary and deteriorates our language skills. As an instructional coach for the Alpine School District in American Fork, Utah Kate Ross says: “text and instant messaging are negatively affecting students' writing quality on a daily basis as they bring their abbreviated language into the classroom”(04). Ross is insisting that some teens bring their text messaging habits into the classroom which prohibits their overall learning experience. Does text messaging produce failures?; As a response to Ross article Jessica Gold Haralson a writer and English major disagrees when she writes: “There may be a ton of hysteria surrounding the text messaging craze, but there's little to no evidence to support the idea that Jill and her BFF are headed for a life of flunking and monosyllables. Consider this: A City University of London study recently dispelled the notion that text messaging somehow affects students' grammar.”(04). Basically Haralson is saying that while it is true that students accidentally bring their text lingo into class, it does not necessarily follow that those students will amount to be failures. There is no evidence which proves that students who text message have a higher chance of performing below average. James Paul Gee also agrees when he writes, “Technological literacy can actually help the K-12 set keep up with today's information overload” (Gee). In other words Gee believes that new technologies such as text messaging, instant messaging, and any other applications concerning computers may train actually train student to multi-task and generally be more productive in the work environment.
Knowledge gained inside the classroom allows students to differentiate correct and false habits outside the classroom. Indeed, some students do bring their habits inside the classroom but those text messaging habits are the same as any other creative habit such as song writing which regularly does not follow correct grammar. The solution to minimizing the repeat of text lingo being used on essays is not to discontinue the use of text messaging but rather to punish accordingly and to teach what is allowed and what is not allowed. Even that which is not allowed may eventually become respectable.
Some teachers encourage the use of technology as they weigh the educational possibilities. Students tend to be more interested and receptive teaching with utilize technology. Some of my friends refuse to take college classes which do not utilize power point technology. To prove my point I interviewed three of my friends from which all three unanimously agreed with the fact that power point enhances the learning experience and benefits to the development of language skills as we multitask while reading the white board, taking notes and listening to the professor. During my interview one of my friends stated, “I refuse to take a class that does not utilize power point because classes without power point are simply boring” (Maylin). Maylins' point is that classes that do not apply innovative methods such as new technologies generally does not challenge her curiosity therefore to save herself from boredom or fruitless instruction she simply does not take class.
Critics, of course, may want to dispute my claim that technology enhances the learning experience by saying the use abbreviations such as LOL (laugh out loud) and BRB (be right back) in text messaging and instant messaging depreciates our language skills and classroom performance. The questions is: how do these abbreviations hurt our language when society has already created and accepted other abbreviations such as ASAP (as soon as possible)?. Text messaging abbreviations do not depreciate our vocabulary neither does it deteriorate our language skills. In fact, it enhances our language skills; although they rarely admit as much critics and students alike often take for granted how much technology encourages them to write and share their ideas regardless of grammatical error. The more we think out aloud the more we inspire others, the more others are inspired the more creative and innovative ideas we are able to develop. The world is empowered by human thought, and technology allows thought to be easily expressed over boundless measures and distances.
Humans have come from drawing hieroglyphics on walls to now typing full length stories on cell phones. Our technology has exponentially grown in a short period of time and it will continue to grow. In the future, notebooks will eventually become extinct as digital forms of notebooks become the new crave. Such technology is already available but it is currently too expensive and rather inconvenient; but as technology becomes more advanced, prices drop and efficiency increases such digital computer notebooks will definitely become widely popular. Students will be able to carry a sleek digital notebook for all their classes. According to Iriver commercials (a computer and multi-media company): notebooks will be able to record audio lectures, and contain such technology which the user will be able to utilize with his or finger or stylus (touch screen pen). Future notebooks will open as regular paper notebooks however instead of needing ticker or bigger paper notebooks to write more information future note books will digitally organize and save hundreds of pages of written work. If and when this is conceptual notebook is realized such technology will once again enhance the writing and reading experience. With audio recording capabilities individuals are able to capture a person statement or professors lecture and listen to it multiple times at their own convenience.
Although I grant that technology has broken many grammatical, linguistic and educational rules, I still maintain that the benefits far outweigh the shortcomings.
In short, technology is hugely beneficial to language skills, education, and the further development of the mind.
Braun, Linda W. Teens, Technology, and Literacy; Or, Why Bad Grammar Isn't Always Bad . Libraries Unlimited , 2006.
Gee, James Paul. What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Hararlson, Jessica Gold. "Does text messaging hurt student writing skills? No." Am Teach 92 no3 N 2007.
Frechette, D Julie. Developing Media Literacy in Cyberspace: Pedagogy and Critical Learning for the Twenty-First-Century Classroom . 2002.
Maylin, Dijkhoff Darliz. technology and education David Jovani Brown. December 2009.
Ross, Kate. "Does text messaging hurt students writing skills ." American Teacher 2007.