Classroom Technology

Is It OK 4 Students 2 Use Text-Speak?

By Liana Loewus — June 15, 2011 1 min read

U.S. News and World Report has a story on students using text-message and social-media shorthand in their academic writing—including in essays for college applications.

Terry Wood, a 10-year veteran teacher in Leonardtown, Md., claimed to have seen a “dramatic decline” in student writing “due to Tweeting, Facebook, and texting.” Many students abbreviate multi-syllable words and no longer use capitalization or punctuation, he said.

High school senior Allie Sakowicz of Park Ridge, Ill., said students “don’t even realize that they’re doing it .... When we’re using all this social media we’re not thinking about spelling words right, so naturally that’s going to translate into the classroom.”

This type of slang is most prevalent in the classroom but has crept into college-essay writing, according to Chad Dion Lassiter, who heads an academic mentorship program for high schoolers in Philadelphia. “Admissions officers have shared with me that a lot of the essays they’re encountering now are deeply rooted in this technological culture of cut-off sentences where you’re writing like you speak,” he told U.S. News. “After the first few sentences, college admissions professionals toss them to the side.”

Is social-media shorthand a problem in your classroom? What have you done to try to nip it in the bud? Or are you O.K. with students writing some assignments using the method of communication they use with friends?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.