Wednesday, October 3, 2012


While studying psychology in my undergraduate courses as well as in a graduate action research course, I learned about countless studies in which observed human behavior and how to incorporate research into the classroom.  I feel that doing so could truly benefit the teacher, allowing the studies' findings to drive instruction, and in turn, benefiting the students because they are being taught on a more individual level rather than only using cookie-cutter lessons.  In reflecting more on Hicks' (2009) chapters two and three, and on teaching students to communicate both on the Internet and face-to-face, it makes me think of an interesting study that could be done.  The study I was considering is based on the concepts of students feeling more invincible and comfortable with their writing when communicating digitally as compared to feeling more restrained and impulsive when communicating in a face-to-face conversation.

When students are able to communicate via texting, emailing, online chatting, blogging, etc., they are not only able to think, plan, revise, and edit their work, but they also tend to lower their inhibitions regarding their language and content filters; that is, they often times use a different tone, use different words, and say different things than they would if they were speaking to the exact same person but face-to-face. Conversely, students feel more pressured when communicating in-person; they have less time to think and plan their words, and impulsively saying what they feel now results in immediate consequences that did not exist with digital communication.  (When I say students, I understand most people of all ages demonstrate the same behaviors in both situations, I am simply referring to students for this reflection).  It would be very interesting to see if these two means of communication and the typical behaviors that go along with them changed when combined.  I imagine the study looking something like our grad class did when we had a textbook chapter to outline with a group but had to do all collaborating online without discussion in person, even though we were all sitting in the same room.  The study would consist of students, either with or without relationships, conversing in person but digitally, where they could filter their language and use any and all revision steps they wanted to but the consequences would be immediate as in face-to-face communication because he/she would be sitting next to or across from them.  I hypothesize that students would end up at neutral grounds, where they were cognizant of what they were saying because the person was in close proximity but still also used a good portion of the editing process they would use online at home.  Teachers could carefully track student behaviors as well as have an educational discussion about the study afterward, seeing how students felt about  digitally writing to the person right next to them.  Students may be somewhat familiar to this concept because of "table texting", where text messaging occurs between people in the same room, and other activities of the like; however, similar to how we felt in class doing this, it should be a fairly new idea to most students.  Teachers could use the results to this experiment to guide instruction, teaching students how to balance their digital and face-to-face communication, so there is not too much of any characteristic in either form but instead they are both learned to be respectful, effective, and reliable forms of communication.  I think it's our job as teachers to continually use research-oriented brains to help us re-think our instruction in new, valuable ways, working to always understand our students better to best prepare them for their futures.

1 comment:

  1. Danielle, again you start off with some interesting ideas. Unfortunately, because you do not focus the rest of your entry on a study you would do with a specific group of students, your readers are left wondering how this all relates to you and your level of preparedness when teaching students to use writing to communicate in digital environments?