The Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference - October 3 - 5
The virtual Library 2.012 conference is a unique chance to participate in a global conversation on the current and future state of libraries. Held worldwide over the course of two days, with 150 sessions and 10 keynotes, subject strands include physical and virtual learning spaces, evolving professional roles in today's world, organizing and creating information, changing delivery methods, user-centered access, and mobile and geo-social information environments. Attendance is free; sign up at http://www.library2012.com to attend or to be kept informed.
Cell phones are a terrific tool to support student engagement and achievement in reading and writing. In fact, “Children who are heavy users of mobile phone text abbreviations... 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.” (Plester & Wood, 2009). Also, “…a new study from California State University researchers has found that texting can improve teens’ writing in informal essays and many other writing assignments” (Miners, 2009). In this section we’ll explain how librarians are doing just that by using cell phones in the way they are most commonly used among youth -- for texting and group texting.
Our students are reading and writing more than ever. In the 21st century, this reading and writing often takes place through the lightening fast thumbs of teens. Although some parents and teachers complain that text messaging is ruining the language, research is showing that it is, in fact, a benefit to students phonemic awareness, spelling, and use of words (Yarmey, 2011; Plester & Wood, 2008, Malson & Tarica, 2011; Fresco, 2005; Dunnewind, 2003; Miners, 2009; McCarroll, 2005; Elder, 2009). When we rethink and revision what is happening when our teens and tweens text, all sorts of learning possibilities emerge.
Ideas for the Library
Texting has become the shorthand of the 21st century. When researching or writing first drafts, allow students to draft on their phone or laptop if they choose and use text abbreviations to get their thoughts down. Encouraging the quick, free flow of ideas in a format they prefer can help young writers capture, compile, and create new ideas. These can be translated as they edit and revise resulting in a final draft that is written in standard language.
Translate difficult passages of poetry, classic literature, or even content heavy textbook passages into textese in order to aid students interactions with the material and understanding. The result is great summaries.
Have students use texting to journal or answer each other’s discussion questions. When the audience changes to others then their peers, have them use standard English, which educates about writing for a particular audience.
Through the ease and time saving means of group texting, educators can connect with groups of students for many literacy activities such as vocabulary development, questions about assigned readings, polls, or summaries. Tools like Celly (http://cel.ly) provide a code for students to text in and become part of a group, no personal numbers are shared. All texts sent and received are documented on the website. This adds structure and documentation to communicating with students through the reading and writing of text messages.
Ideas for the Library
To encourage homework reading, the library sends out a critical thinking question to the students in the evening and reads their responses the next day (phone or computer) and records to share.
Put students in cooperative learning groups and have them interact and discuss questions through an open group chat. The libararian then reads the chats within the Celly site. The librarian or group leader gets to be a part of every group and every student has a voice.
Have students set up a Celly for themselves and use the @me feature for easily taking notes, writing questions, or making connections while reading at school or on the go.
Librarians know the benefits of cues and questions to activate prior knowledge, in the library, however,time is usually short. This can leave little time to cue students, ask questions, or discuss prior knowledge. Unfortunately, there is often little to no wait time. With the introduction of free group texting services, this can change. The librarian can group text for a cue or a question before school to morning classes and at lunch to afternoon classes. This can really help students come to the library aware ready to explore and learn more while making library time as efficient as possible.