It’s been about a year since I’ve seen an article like this pop up — perhaps it has to do with going back to school and all the negative ideas that technology can bring in relation to the state of our language and culture:
The walls between the school and the cellphone or computer screen are permeable, and the key is to get students thinking about language so it’s used intentionally and effectively in context, says Florida State’s Yancey. “Language users will take a practice from one setting and take it to another. That’s the nature of language. What I really hope is that people will translate appropriately.
“It’s like flip-flops, she says. “There’s nothing wrong with flip-flops, worn at the appropriate time in an appropriate way. But soccer players don’t wear flip-flops in a game.”
I find this particularly interesting right now as I am reading Postman’s Technopoly with my ENG 201 class. His basic argument is that technology becomes culture and thus an all-consuming march towards progress that we don’t question. So, I do sometimes appreciate those who question why and how new literacies like IMing are changing our language (even if I disagree with the principle behind the question).
Also, it reminds me that I need to be very conscious of what technologies I choose to use in my teaching and research, how I explain those choices and technologies to others, and to reevaluate them in light of how well they worked for the task at hand. IMing, for instance, is not useful as a genre for the types of writing that we are doing in the ENG 201 class, but is interesting as a subject of research.
You can see more of what my students are writing about related to Technopoly in their blogs, which you can link to from here.
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