Between March and May 2012 the Italian Subject Group carried out a project which involved the use of SMS text messaging to support students’ language learning experience under the supervision of Federica Sturani.
The project was open to all second-year students attending the post-beginners’ Italian language module ITAL202. For the duration of the project students received text messages in Italian to reply to or act upon every day. The content of the messages varied and included linguistic, cultural and practical information. The idea was that additional and unpredictable exposure to the language would work as an extra stimulus and support the students’ learning experience, enhancing their linguistic knowledge and ability in Italian. In addition, the use of what is the preferred means of communication amongst students had the advantage of reproducing an everyday, routine action which ‘normalised’ foreign language use. In fact, on the basis of the students’ declarations, the favourite types of message were those which dealt with vocabulary and idiomatic expressions in Italian. The students also enjoyed not knowing in advance what the messages would be about.
The students’ feedback was very positive, even though they found the exclusive use of Italian (including abbreviations!) ‘challenging’ – but that was the point of it!
Here are some of the text messaging abbreviations we used:
c sent: ci sentiamo
dv 6: dove sei
mmt+: mi manchi tantissimo
tvtb: ti voglio tanto bene