Songhai Concepts

Media Literacy/Digital Archiving Instructor

Friday, September 04, 2009

The 3R's Reading, (w)Riting, Reconsider

Had a lively discussion last night with a couple of buddies from college about the newspaper industry and why that industry is dying slowly in many cites across America. One friend, Bill, a journalist, said the that the newspaper industry is losing millions of dollars because of the Internet and because many young people just don't read. He said the newspaper industry needs to adopt a new model, consider distributing newspapers for free, maybe, but newspapers need to adopt a new model that's in step with the times we live in. And I think he's right - to a degree.

Young people love to read I said.  They send dozens of text messages everyday (writing)  and they receive dozens of text messages in return (reading) on their cell phones. Teens read and write all day, everyday. They also read and write through their social networks like Facebook and MySpace.

We all agreed that writing in txt msg code, cleverly codified as it is, leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to submitting a report or an essay for a class. Students need to know how and when to code switch.  It's okay to use txt msg code with your friends but not a good idea to use it when submitting formal papers.  A student would be foolish to write a college essay or fill out a job application using txt msg code. That's where the teacher's work needs to begin/continue.

Look around you. Our students are reading and writing and being artistic and creative with their gadgets everyday for hours on end. They're enthralled with their devices on the bus, at the dinner table, while driving, during my class.  And no, they are not reading the New York Times or the Washington Post and no they are not using the correct spelling or proper grammar when they write, but they're in the ball park. They're writing, they're communicating.  They're exploring the World Wide Web. Our job is to coach them and to drive them home.


I wrote this note with my cell phone.
It can edit it, e-mail it to a student
or a parent and save it to my cell phone.
If I'm not satisfied with the note and decide
to start the note over again, I can trash it.

I took this picture last year in Virginia, with a cell phone.
Every student on the trip ( a college tour through Virginia)
had a cell phone. Hundreds of text messages were sent and received
over the five days we spent touring campuses. 
They were reading and writing daily.

Most smartphones like the one above allow you to
download and read books right from the device itself.
It's possible to have all your text books for your
different classes on your cell phone.


Above are several books that I downloaded and
saved to my cell phone that I am currently reading.
When I think about the amount of reading, writing and text based
socializing that students do with their cell phones and on the web, it 
astounds me that there are so few of us willing to bring even the
slightest bit of cell phone technology, MP3 science, digital social 
networking or cloud computing into the school building.
I think the sign above says it all.
H Songhai

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