A question or idea arose for my topic and I quickly realized just what kind of snowball effect this modest inquiry could start. My first question, “Do autocorrect and spellcheck hamper the spelling abilities of primary students?”, led to lots of reading. After more reading than I could care to partake in, I formed several more questions to research before I landed on the question I will purpose, “What has technology done for literacy, harm or benefit and why?”. This topic can be tricky to wrap your head around, however, it has a particular interest to me due to the amount of personal stake I have in the topic upon returning to a classroom after an extended break.
During my many hours scrolling through the vast information portal that is the internet I found several articles that pertain to my research question. The first article that caught my interest is, “Use of predictive text in text messaging over the course of a year and its relationship with spelling, orthographic processing and grammar”. This article explores the relationship between the use of predictive text and literacy skills over a year within a wide range of age groups. I was very bias before diving into this article and had to overcome a lot of preconceived ideas about this relationship through the collecting of data when reading this article. After reading this article my first inquiry question was obsolete, the answer had already been found through numerical data. In this article, the patterns of grammatical errors and benefits were discussed in each age group. My inquiry question now turns to, “What are the benefits to predictive text and spellcheck technologies”. The credibility of the authors, Sam Waldron, Clare Wood and Nenagh Kemp, is not in question. Their reference material backs all of their claimed data and does not show any gaps or fraud in their thesis. Their extensive source material as well as their first hand research are from well accredited and controlled sources.
The article I discovered next turned my focus to the broader topic of formal writing in students rather than only spelling skills. “Social Media and its Changes on Student’s Formal Writing” by Micki Harris and Nicole Marie Dilts, Phd. This article outlines a study conducted to find the most common grammatical errors in students formal writing comparative to their errors in Facebook posts. The study was limited to the social media site of Facebook because it allows for long posts without character restrictions. The results of the study support my research question with quantifiable data and help show the relationship between a habit on social media sites and a mistake in formal writing. The stake in this particular article is mostly for the vast audience who uses social media or who’s children use social media as well as write formal in a classroom. After the thorough analysis of Facebook posts and formal writings, the data is conclusive that most errors are grammatical in nature. This first hand analysis is a reliable and credible source based on the reference material and information provided.
The last article I found to be interesting is very different from the other two. “Text-messaging practices and links to general spelling skill: A study of Australian children” by Catherine Bushnell, Nenagh Kemp & Frances Heritage Martin. This article contours the use of text messaging in children and their understanding of the phonics and words they use daily. This article caught my attention by examining the benefits of text messaging in children rather than focusing on the negative effects of the technology. According to several studies there are both benefits and problems with our youth’s reliance on texting as a whole. The stake in this particular topic is that an increase in texting may result in grammatical benefits. This could be used as a marketable idea or a means to change education practices and ideas. My personal opinion has been shaken up by this article alone. With the broad research of the authors and the information they have compiled as a result, it is conclusive that this article is a credible source for the topic. Their reference material checks out as well and show no signs of error.
Reading is the key to acquiring information and the baseline of research. In the beginning I knew very little about the question I would be researching other than what I had gathered from personal experiences. After spending a great deal of time reading and taking in new ideas, I have found some new opinions of my topic. My questions are researchable and tie into or relate to one another. The research that has already been completed proves there is a controversy in the opinion on this topic. Some studies have shown the benefits of technology on literacy while others have shown the negative effects of such. After reading these few articles I am interested to gain more information on the topic to affirm my shaken opinion on technology’s effect on literacy. Much more reading and debate will be done before a though conclusion can be form but I look forward to the process.