A recent study finds that college students who use lots of “textisms” in their everyday electronic communications tend to perform a little worse in formal writing tasks – but are better informal writers.

In this study, “textisms” are abbreviations, acronyms, intentional misspellings, incorrect punctuations and the like that are commonly used in text messages and in instant messaging.

Guest: Larry Rosen, California State University

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Facebook, Twitter and the tools that enable them sometimes get a bad rap. A recent example: a weekend article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which quotes mental health professionals who worry that addiction to our digital tools will lead to a breakdown of interpersonal relationships and a rise in attention deficit disorder.

A new study from the University of Minnesota does not address those issues but does suggest social networks are a good way to get young people engaged current events and civic affairs, and have much potential as teaching tools.

Guest: Christine Greenhow, University of Minnesota

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Yesterday we heard from Fordham University Law associate professor Zephyr Teachout, who predicted that the Internet would cause the next generation to turn away from college campuses in favor of online education.

Today we have a rebuttal from John Sener, an online learning consultant and director of special initiatives for the Sloan Consortium, a group that promotes online education.

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Ever notice how fast kids kids seem to learn intricate video games? There’s a school of thought that says there’s something about the nature of games that help kids learn effectively — perhaps more so than in traditional school-based learning. There’s a new public school opening soon in New York City that aims to use game design principles to create immersive, game-like learning experiences for students. Quest to Learn is a grade six through 12 school that will open its doors in the fall.

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A new non-profit venture called The University of the People will employ free academic materials that other schools have posted online, volunteer professors and student social networking in a bid to offer real college degrees. The Internet-based school will charge only modest fees, but no tuition, and will attempt to become a fully accredited school.

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