The rapid adoption of mobile devices and texting by students' has increased concern between parents and educators regarding the impact texting has on children's spelling abilities.
Texting, coupled with the growing usage of social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, have made understanding kids' relationship between their texting dialect and use of 'proper English' an area of concern for parents and educators.
A group of third-year psychology students at University of Alberta, under the supervision of Dr. Connie Varnhagen, proposed and designed a study to test whether texting had an influence on students' spelling habits. The group surveyed roughly 40 students from ages 12 to 17. The participants were asked to save their instant messages for a week. At the end of the study, the participants completed a standardized spelling test.
What they found was not what everyone has come to expect—that kids who engage heavily in abbreviated chat would perform poorly on spelling tests—but that kids' text speak generally mirrored their real-life skills.
The results of the University of Alberta study should ease some concerns and even open up discussion on how texting can be somehow embraced within an educational or academic context. For more coverage on this story, take a look at this news report from the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC).