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ERIC Number: ED544437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
A Cell Phone in the Classroom: A Friend or a Foe?
Irina, Averianova
European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL), Paper presented at the European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL) Annual Conference (Nottingham, United Kingdom, Aug 31-Sep 3, 2011)
Communication is getting increasingly mobile, with more than a third of the world's population using cellular phones. Recent statistics indicate that this proportion is much bigger among young people. Research has also registered significant predominance of short message exchange over other modes of interaction in youth culture, where e-mail is perceived as a tool for "old people," while voice calls are reserved for communication with parents and other adults. Adapting to the changing world of mobile technology, many public institutions have welcomed the use of mobile phones for messaging, which is less disturbing than phone calls. However, schools, which are the principal abode of young people, are still struggling with this most common way of communication of their clients. While a growing number of schools across the world have worked cellular phones and text messaging into their curriculum, most of academia still bans phones from the classroom, if not the school campuses altogether. The factors, which account for persistent resistance to the phone presence in the academic context, are of two kinds: linguistic and pedagogic. From the linguistic point of view, SMS shorthand writing, or texting, is a unique language phenomenon, which shares many linguistic features with other types of digital communication, such as email, chat, instant messaging, forums, interaction via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and so on. The common features of electronic discourse include extremely diverse and developed abbreviation, use of emoticons, contracted syntax and frequent negligence of spelling, capitalization and punctuation rules. In this way, texters achieve extremely compressed writing, adapted to the financial and technological requirements of the medium. While some researchers and practitioners consider mastering of the medium a part of digital literacy required for the citizens of the new millennium, others perceive nonstandard orthography and grammar perpetuated in texting as a threat to traditional literacy. The concern of the opponents of texting is supported by sufficient evidence that texting is progressively penetrating into the academic production of students, which testifies to the lack of code-switching skills and the growing preference towards nonstandard language. From the pedagogic point of view, the attitude towards cell phones and texting is similarly ambiguous. On the one hand, research shows that with cell phones, youngsters are exposed to more reading and writing than ever before. Inclusion of texting in teaching practice increases motivation and makes learning more relevant to the needs and likes of students. Also, the evidence that non-native speakers increasingly borrow textisms testifies to a higher appropriation of the target language. On the other hand, many teachers view texting as disruptive for classroom atmosphere, as it leads to multitasking and certain inappropriate activities. Finally, spillover of texting into other modes of interaction may negatively affect communication and its participants. This presentation will look into the main issues of the evolving discussion around cell phones and texting in the academic context and analyze the most recent research on and practice of using mobile technology in the field of teaching foreign languages.
European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL). School of Modern Languages, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland BT52 1SA UK. Tel: +44-287-032-3992; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL) (United Kingdom)
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A