1 Nanjing Normal University (CHINA)
2 University of North Texas (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Page: 1231 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0185
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
The language people employ when sending out instant messages or responding to an online post is referred as “digital language” (Crystal, 2008b, Christiansen, Li, 2016). Digital language is characterized by “its short length, multimodality (a combination of alphanumeric characters, images, symbols, and sometimes sounds), usage of punctuation characters to represent facial expressions, and its tendency to abbreviate words and phrases in mobile learning environment” (Christiansen & Li, 2016, p.1). Digital language was originally intended to promote concise communication over mobile devices, but individuals have come to expand its usage for expressing their identities, celebrating the variety of language, and displaying creativity through word choice (Crystal, 2008b; Grace, Kemp, Martin, & Parrila, 2014, Christiansen, Li, 2016).

In this technological era, the increasing popularity of collaborating on tasks through the use of mobile platforms has increased learners’ reliance on digital language. Traditional literacy practices with regards to reading and writing are no longer sufficient to cater for the language need of learners when it comes to digital environments. Furthermore, mobile learning has not only been accepted but is also highly encouraged in higher education, especially among teacher education programs. Teacher preparation curricula has also come to emphasize contemporary literacy practices that integrate the use of text messages, visual material, and digital language. However, in the past, most studies have tended to focus on exploring the development of young learners’ digital literacy; relatively few researchers have investigated the use of language by teacher candidates in the mobile learning environment.

This research recruited twenty teacher candidates from the same class in a public university setting. Participants are assigned into mobile reflection groups containing four to five individuals each and have the freedom to choose either the WhatsApp or short message service (SMS) apps as the mobile communication platform. Each teacher candidate was required to complete five mobile reflections during one semester. At the end of the semester, there was a total of 100 mobile reflections. Using computer-assisted text analysis, the researcher is able to identify different representations of multi-literacy in teacher candidates’ language use in the mobile reflections. The pedagogical implication of teaching multi-literacy in the mobile learning environment is also emphasized.

Teacher candidates’ language use in their mobile reflections displays their rapid development of multi-literacy skills in the digital learning environment; in addition, it demonstrates their awareness of the efficacy of different mobile learning strategies. By decoding the patterns in teacher candidates’ language use on mobile devices, the researcher is able to promote effective digital dialogue among teacher candidates and to motivate them to include mobile learning strategies in their future teaching practices.
Digital literacy, multi-literacy, teacher candidate.