Not only did the fact that the http://icanhascheezburger.com website sent my spyware detector into orbit – a predicament that required the shutting down of my browser and consequent rebooting – create disquiet in my soul, but so did a couple of topics in Interview About Learning 2.0.
First, let me say that I do like the idea of all learners contributing to the class. We do have a number of students in traditional classrooms who add nothing more than a presence to the classroom. Perhaps part of the reason is because of the more formal setting of the classroom where everyone is required to listen and raise their hand to comment while others quietly listen as another speaks. Some students don’t like to be the center of attention and may reserve comments that would have been fabulous contributions to the discussion.
However, regarding lolcat and ilk, are we willing to let proper forms of spelling, syntax, and grammar disappear so that we can create more imaginative communication systems ? A large number of my students have poor spelling skills and think that the insertion of dk, pwnd, and others is perfectly fine for class assignments that involve writing. Additionally, beginning every sentence or question with capital letters seems to be a lost art for some. Is everyone in the world going to have to learn internet language / slang to be a part of this new age of learning called Learning 2.0? It seems to me that this trend will create another class of people and I’m not sure I would categorize them as elitists, but certainly it would not be very egalitarian for people who cannot afford computers or the education to learn about their use. Where do we find freedom in this mix?
Also, I am a believer in reading the classics like Moby Dick, Tess, The Faerie Queen, King Lear and so many others because they offer so much in the teaching and learning of values and virtue. Many students read these stories because they are forced to as a part of classwork and if that is the case, so be it. If they get the message, they will be better people. Movies of famous books sometimes present the major points of a story fairly well, but I think that reading requires deeper thought for cultivating more refined neural pathways.
Language is not static and should support change, but it seems to me such extreme and rapid changes (some of my students are constantly creating acronym-like words) would cause communication problems, especially for someone like me who has only recently begun to blog.