Instant Messaging (IM) and Chat
This page provides links to resources that take a look at the importance of instant messaging, chat and other live interactions for learning.
Articles in date order, most recent first.
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"Craig Smith focuses on chat, a common way for online instructors to replace classroom discussion. He provides a protocol to keep discussions focused and productive, helping teachers realize the potential usefulness of an easily accessible technological tool." Craig W Smith, innovate, June/July 2005, Vol 2, Issue 5
Added: 7 June 2006
"Smith clearly outlines his protocol and provides an example of a class discussion using his chat etiquette."
"I decided last semester to follow the lead of those pioneering instructors who have become IM buddies with their students. If my students found e-mail a clunky and outdated way to communicate, I wanted to reach out to them and use instant messaging." Kathryn Wymer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2006
Added: 7 February 2006
The personal experience of one college lecturer as she uses IM to communicate with her students
"In this article, I describe the results of a pilot study involving the provision of corrective feedback to ESL learners through collaborative work utilizing the text-based chat and audio features of Yahoo! Messenger (Yahoo IM), a form of synchronous desktop videoconferencing (DVC). I also discuss the implications of such studies for enhancing language learning outside of traditional contexts and possibly encouraging connectivity and informal collaboration with colleagues and students." Susana M Sotillo, Innovate, Vol 2 Issue 3, February/March 2006
Added: 1 February 2006
Susana examines the usefulness of instant messaging in teaching English as a Second Language. Her study outlines the different types of feedback available using the widely available technology and shows it to hold great potential for language learning.
"Cyber-instructors continually seek instructional tools that will hold students' attention, and make online communications more efficient and effective. Skype is the latest one to test." Cheng-Cheng Pan and Michael Sullivan, THE Journal, September 2005
Added: 17 September 2005
The purpose of the study was to answer the question: "To what degree does Skype impact the learning and teaching experience in a Web-based learning environment?"
"This powerful communication tool of instant messaging-wonderful as it is-is simply too tempting, too distracting in the classroom. Our students are better students without it." and "Although IM is not the end-all and be-all, it can be one technological opportunity to help engage learners of the 21st century. Sharon Texley and Donna DeGennaro, Learning & Leading with Technology, Vol 32, No 7, April 2005
Added: 9 May 2005
2 views of using IM in schools
"Instant messaging is essentially the text version of a phone call. At businesses large and small, more and more people are using it as a communications tool. For many, it serves as a backstop for e-mail problems and other emergencies." Monte Enbysk, Microsoft Small Business Center
Added: 25 February 2005
Whether you're a business owner or an avid IM user, or both, here are 10 instant messaging do's and don'ts.
"This paper begins by highlighting select current literature in the area of students' knowledge of communication technology with a focus on instant messaging. Instant messaging usages today and proposed future usages are looked at ...The advantages and disadvantages of both public and secure instant messaging are discussed ...A review of results from a student survey on technology usage and an in-class instant messaging trial are presented ...In conclusion, this paper reviews some of the good, the bad, and the ugly about instant messaging and some of the benefits and drawbacks of instant messaging in educational settings." Robert Farmer, NaWeb 2003
Added: 17 December 2004
A good summary of the pros and cons of IM - although doesn't address how the cons can be overcome
"Instant messaging may be regarded as a waste of time in many corporate offices, but new studies suggesting that it can increase productivity may open the door for widespread adoption at work. But whether it's a drain on human resources or a boon to the bottom line, for some, instant messaging means a clear path to big profits." Red Herring, 24 September 2004
Added: 27 September 2004
Can only be viewed by members of the RH community
"2004 Pew Internet & American Life surveys reveal that more than four in ten online Americans instant message (IM). That reflects about 53 million American adults who use instant messaging programs. About 11 million of them IM at work and they are becoming fond of its capacity to encourage productivity and interoffice cooperation." Pew Internet & American Life Project, September 2004
Added: 14 September 2004
"Instant messengers utilize IM not only as a way to expand and remain connected their social circle, but also as a form of self-expression, through use of customized away messages, profiles and buddy icons."
"Boston University's admission counsellors are online all day, quickly fielding questions from prospective students about admissions procedures, college life or the status of their application. The university has been using the software for nearly three years, and more schools are logging on." Jen Haberkorn, The Washington Times, 24 June 2004
Added: 26 June 2004
Use of IM in the admissions procedure at Boston University
"As with most Internet tools, the trick to productive instant messaging is knowing how to use it and when not to use it. Here is an overview of available IM services and software, along with some commonsense advice on how to safeguard your privacy and security while you're using them." Scott Spanbauer, PC World Magazine, March 2004
Added: 24 February 2004
A basic but useful summary of instant messaging
"Instant messaging, long associated with teenagers staying up late to chat online with friends, is moving into the workplace with an impact that has started to rival e-mail and the cellphone." Amy Harmon, The New York Times, 11 March 2003
Added: 17 March 2003
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"The in-room chat created a two-channel experience -- a live conversation in the room, and an overlapping real-time text conversation. The experiment was a strong net positive for the group. Most social software is designed as a replacement for face-to-face meetings, but the spread of permanent (connectivity like air) provides opportunities for social software to be used by groups who are already gathered in the same location. For us, the chat served as a kind of social whiteboard. In this note, I want to detail what worked and why, what the limitations and downsides of in-room chat were, and point out possible future avenues for exploration." Clay Shirky, openp2p.com, 26 December 2002
Added: 4 January 2003
An interesting analysis of the use of chat in a conference room (with pictures)
"IM finally gets down to business. A look at the short- and long-term ramifications. EricHellweg,Business 2.0, 6 November 2002
Added: 10 November 2002
Looks at the activity around corporate instant messaging
"Instant Messenger (IM) is a huge corporate tool, yet it is rarely mentioned in corporate productivity or learning plans." Elliott Masie, IT Training Magazine, April 2002
Added: 6 April 2002
Here Elliott Masie promotes IM as an important tool for learning
"In the last couple of years, instant messaging has hit the mainstream. There are currently more than 131 million users of the public instant messaging networks, according to IDC, with America Online leading the way with more than 100 million users of its AOL Instant Messenger. With every copy of the upcoming Microsoft Windows XP release and every AOL subscription now including at least one instant messaging client, usage figures are expected to mushroom in the years ahead." Lowell Rapaport, Transform magazine, November 2001
Added: 21 November 2001
Also includes advice on implementing IM
"You'd think anything with the word "instant" in it would be a desirable tool for companies trying to cope with today's hyperspeed business cycles. Not so instant messaging. Its main driver has been distinctly non-corporate: Web users carrying on real-time text dialogues with "buddies."
Added: 5 July 2001
Instant messaging is a quick way for a couple of people to collaborate and deal with JIT learning needs, but it seems companies are very vary of this technology.