Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Assalamualaikum and Hello Dr Burn,

There are 5 issues that were debunked by Professor David Crystal that I might or might not agree with. The first concern is,

  •        Is texting is done only by kids?

In this situation, I would totally agree with him which it is not true that texting is only done by kids. In fact, in Malaysian context, it is common thing to see adult texting via their smartphone while walking, eating, working and even driving! It is not a fair statement to say that only kid did texting using their phone. I've tried to look for any related literature review to support the notion, however I couldn't find any statement that said the amount of texting between kids/adult are not much different with one another. In fact, some of the information found are contradict with my statement  as for instance, it is stated that a ‘ survey found that both text messaging and phone calling on cell phones usage leveled off for the adult population as a whole. Text messaging users send or receive an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily. Vice versa for the teenage users, the exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month.’

  •       Are kids fill their text messages with abbreviations?

The answer is YES. Most of the kids used abbreviations in their messages and sometimes it can’t be understood by the receiver. I myself been in there situation where I hardly get the meaning of the text that the sender intend to deliver. Luckily, in term of second language texting, all the abbreviations are still making sense and it is indeed used by worldwide. As for instance, ‘gtg’ refers to ‘got to go’; ‘afk’ refers to ‘away from keyboard’. But in term of the first language (Malaysian context), it is worst! Guess what ‘aew pown trakw’ means? Answer: ‘Aku pon taktau’. Sadly, yes.  

  •       Are these abbreviations that the kids use in their text messages are invented by them?

In this situation, I once again disagree with Professor Davis Crystal which I do believe that most of the abbreviations in texting are invented by kids.  The words such as 2moro (tomorrow), 2nite (tonight), 2u2 (to you too) and AMBW (all my best wishes) are basically made up by them. It is uncommon words to be used back then, but now it is an acceptable ‘technology culture’ in our society.

  •        Is it true because of the use of abbreviation, they don’t know how to spell correctly?

The forth statement is a true notion in my point of view. I am not quite agree with the statement given by him which he said ‘ the more you text, the better your literacy scores and the earlier you get your mobile phone, the better your literacy scores’ . It is because, somehow the way they texting to each other affect their way of writing. I did come across several essays written by my students that used words such as ‘btw’ and they even write the 'and' word  as ‘n’.In fact, to be honest, it is a very common issue that need to be overcome by the English teachers. Moreover, based on  British Broadcasting Company (March 4, 2003) reports that 'text messaging has long been blamed for declining standards of spelling and grammar, particularly in paper and pencil writing'. In this situation, it is indirectly affect the way they write their essays (even sentences) in attempting the tasks given by teachers or even during the examination which answered myth number 5. I have different opinion compared to the Professor David Crystal which he debunked the notion given. It may not be that obvious in the westerner’s culture, but here in Malaysia, it did affect their performance especially in term of writing skill.  In addition,The Times Daily newspaper cites a recent report, "Writing, Technology and Teens," which found that the cell phone text-based abbreviated communications teens use are showing up in more formal writing.

Next, I do agree that texting is a good medium for learning or in using English language. However, note to be taken that there must be guidelines, assistance from the educators to ensure that the words use in texting are appropriate and did help them to improve their English. If they were given 100% freedom, it is hard to control the use of words and the impact of it to the students. Educators need to always become the facilitators in order to make sure that the intended goal will be achieved. As proposed by Crystal (2011) himself, as he said, ‘we need to know how to build on the strengths of SMS language and its creative potentials. Cell phones have a lot of expressive potential apart from their basic communicative functions.'

Regarding the conflict between the issue of social and the educational issue, I would say that it is the mixture of both issues. In term of the educational issue, like what is mentioned above, we can see there are lots of lacking to our educational system due to the effect of texting itself. On the other hand, in term of social issue, kids are becoming too attached with the technology/texting. They are holding their phone where ever they go, whatever they do and anytime they want too, including texting while studying or when their teachers/educators talking in front of the class.  Indirectly, it will affect their behavior and attitude as a person also as a student specifically.

Thank you 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Assalamualaikum and Hello Dr Burn,

The use of wireless mobile technology such as tablet, Smartphone and laptop  in education is making teaching and learning experience become more flexible where students can learn from anywhere and at anytime. In fact, research shows that mobile devices can be more easily integrated across the curriculum than desktops (Moseley & Higgins, 1999). This is possible since many students already have mobile devices as it is not as complex as desktop computers. Additional research shows gains in students’ motivation, analytical and organizational skills and comprehension, writing, grammar skills, and originality.

For the purpose of this task, I’ll choose Smartphone as the best mobile technology to be used by students in ESL classroom. Each one of the mobile technology listed; Smartphone, tablet and laptop has their own advantages and weaknesses.  However, in my point of view, Smartphone is a great choice to be used for teachers and students in an ESL classroom as one of the tools to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Apart from it is not as big as laptop and tablet, nowadays students can get a Smartphone as low as RM200! Note to be taken that not all students capable to buy a laptop or a tablet, but generally they are capable to buy a Smartphone since there are a lot of choices given to buyers to be choose on. In current situation, it is quite normal to see all students in one classroom to have a Smartphone, but it is quite uncommon to have every student to have their own tablet or laptop, especially for students in sub urban and rural areas.

There are a lot of applications that can be used by using Smartphone in ESL classroom. One of the applications that can be used is known as ‘Rosetta Course’. The good thing about this application is that, you can choose your level by choosing the option given which are; beginner, intermediate, advance. If you choose to have a beginner level, it actually really treats the ‘learners’ as a blank slate as it teaches the learner from the basic form to a more complex form. It may sound irrelevant for those who have a strong foundation in English, but take into consideration for those students that are really weak in English. Thus, teacher can adjust the level based on the students’ proficiency.

The other application that can be practice in an ESL classroom is known as ‘FluentU’. It is indeed an interesting application as it promotes a very fun and interactive way of learning to the learners. As for instance, there are numbers of music videos and movies provided for learners to watch on. Uniquely, all the videos are also provide with English subtitles to allow learners to watch, listen and read at the same time. Learners can indirectly learn the correct way of pronunciation when they listen to the audio and read the subtitles at a time. Other than that, learners can also attempt several level of quizzes provided to see their performance or ability in English. The most important element here is that, it will easily able to attract students’ attention to it as it really meet most of the students’ interest by providing current music videos and movies.

In the nutshell, mobile technology can be a great tool to be used to in ESL classroom. However, teachers need to always aware on how to ensure that the lessons created are suitable with the target students in term of the location of the school;( urban, sub- urban, rural), level of proficiency; (low, intermediate, advance) as well as their family background or SES (poor, average, rich). 

Thank you.