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Monday, February 23, 2009

Why should I capitalize my i's? (And what to do about it)



OK, this is an issue that many students ask, "Why do i need to capitalize?" (I intentionally did that lowercase.)

Well, there is one main reason:

Not everyone speaks English.

Using a lowercase "i" and other things like "cu l8r" and "r u OK?" are part of a slang called "im-speak" or instant messaging speak because it developed to speed instant messaging. If you choose to use this in your personal communications, that is your choice.

But here, we are professional students and one day, you will be a professional of some kind. In that case, if you do not capitalize you will be judged as someone who doesn't care about your language.

But most importantly, IM speak is very rude to those who have English as a second language and so that just makes it poor Digital Citizenship. As a Digital Citizen, you want to be inclusive and helpful to others AND a good communicator. (Some who don't speak good English will also use things like Google Translate which WILL NOT properly translate things that aren't spelled correctly or capitalized.)

So, those of you who seem to be allergic to those shift keys to capitalize and the punctuation -- you'd better get over it. Correct language is important and good netiquette. If you want to have spellchecker built in, just use the Mozilla Firefox browser and it will spell check automatically. I use it ALL the time! Just right click on the words that are underlined in red and pick the correct spelling.


For the teachers, this is how I handle this:

1) I message them privately and tell them if it is not fixed that it will be points off.
2) If they don't fix, I leave a comment on the page to remind them and as a message to other students about capitalization and correct spelling.
3) This is VERY important because IM speak is rude to those who have English as a second language -- capitalization is VERY important and IM speak is VERY rude when those who aren't native English speakers are involved. Talk about it and use it as a teachable moment.

There is also some project guidelines that we use for all Flat Classroom projects at http://projecthelp.wikispaces.com/Citing+Personal+Information

Cross posted with my NetGenEd Project blog
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