Friday, 14 October 2011

Creating Texting Dialogues for Students

As mobile phone use becomes ubiquitous around the world and texting becomes a new genre of communication, it seems increasingly important that we as language teachers engage with these devices and help students to deal with the impact they are having on the English language.

Some time ago I wrote about a texting language translater called Transl8it which enabled users to trans late short texts from standard English to something approaching sms texting language.  Since then I've used the site quite a lot to:

  • Translate text for using in chat rooms such as TodaysMeet
  • Translate poems and short dialogues into texting language for students to read
  • Translate news headlines.
  • I've also tried getting students to record example sentences of vocabulary into texting language, just to add an extra element to creating vocabulary records.

Recently, I have also found a handy tool called ifaketext and this enables you to create a picture of a smartphone screen with your dialogue on. Here's an example:

This is a great way to create materials to use with students, especially if we combine it with the Transl8it. Then I can make dialogues that look like this:

All we need to do to create the dialogues is go to: and type in a dialogue. Be sure to put a name at the top and format the dialogue with the name of each speaker followed by a colon (:) then the dialogue. Then just click on 'Create Your Screenshot'.

Once the screen shot is created you get a number of options for adding it to materials. You can either get a code to embed it or a direct link to the image and you can save it from there and add it to you documents.

Here are a few ways you could use this with students:
  • Convert dialogues from their coursebook into texting language.
  • Create mysterious interactions and get them to predict the context.
  • Create dialogues and get students to guess the relationship between the people.
  • Create the beginnings of dialogues and get the students to continue them.
  • Create dialogues with missing lines / words and get the students to complete them.
  • Create dialogues with the responses in the wrong order and get students to arrange them correctly.
This is one small way that we can start to adapt materials and incorporate this kind of language into a our classroom. I hope you and your students enjoy using ifaketext and transl8it and you create some interesting and motivating materials for them.

Related links:


Nik Peachey


ATLTeacher said...

Why would a teacher want to show students how to speak improperly? They already know how to do that; aren't we supposed to show them what they don't know?

Nik Peachey said...

Hi ATL Teacher

Texting is a genuine form of native speaker interaction. It's not improper. If we want our students to be able to function completely in a language then we need to help them to at last understand these kinds of interaction.



Anonymous said...

Great idea for a different way of presenting a dialogue, one that the students are much more used to! Thanks for sharing!

Tara Benwell said...

Excellent post! Love these ideas and agree with your comment about texting 100%.

Vesna said...

Great idea, thanks for sharing!

P.S. Looking forward to your coming to Belgrade in November!