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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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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