Dueling studies

Staff Writer
28 Oct 2009

A study - Techno Addicts: Young Person Addiction to Technology - by researchers at Cranfield School of Management and Northampton Business School, claims that technology addiction is having a negative effect on learning.

The BBC reports that use of modern electronics worsened pupils' spelling and concentration, encouraged plagiarism and disrupted lessons. 63% of pupils aged 11 to 18 felt they were addicted to the internet and 53% to their mobile phones.
Now, here's where things get confusing: 39% of students in the Cranfield study claimed that texting harmed their spelling and writing.

But findings from University of Albert researchers show that language used in texting has no effect on children's spelling abilities. In fact, study author Connie Varnhagen says that language variations as used in instant messaging or texting is actually a good sign.

Varnhagen's findings, published recently in Reading and Writing, pleasantly surprised the researchers. Says Varnhagen "Kids who are good spellers [academically] are good spellers in instant messaging," she said. "And kids who are poor spellers in English class are poor spellers in instant messaging." And, slightly encouraging "using a new type of language does require concentration and translating it to standard English does require concentration and attention. It's a little brain workout."

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