Spotlight on the SLS 218 Newsletter

The online classroom and newsletter for SLS 218

As technology becomes more integrated within everyone’s lives, educators have always sought to apply technology within the classroom and help students to be successful in their studies. The field of language learning and teaching is no different.

One of our courses that introduces students to second language learning and technology is SLS 218.

In SLS 218, not only do students learn about language learning and technology in an online virtual environment, but students also share their observations and make connections with what they learned in class to things in the real world. These observations are shared in the student-created SLS 218 Newsletter.

Below is a taste of articles from the first newsletter of the Fall 2023 semester!

Students in the online newsroom for the SLS 218 newsletter

Distributed Language in TikTok (By Darren Siscar)

If you have fallen into a deep TikTok scroll before, you are bound to come across several trends.Some you can understand and laugh at along with others in the comments, and some that leave you confused and asking for explanations from others in the comments. These trends are an example of distributed language. According to Cowley (2007), distributed language is “the process of making and remaking signs in contextualized episodes of communication” (p. 576). These trends start when users create meaning through use of specific songs, filters, and text. Then when those videos gain traction, other users adopt those songs, filters, and text thus creating a trend.

One trend I can think of uses the song “Eyes Without a Face” by Billy Idol. In this trend users. Use a glamor filter and act out daily activities accompanied by a text along the lines of “What I think I look like.” Then the user changes to a pretty unflattering filter, while acting out the same activity, accompanied by a text along the lines of “How I really look like.” If a user were to use a different filter, or a different song, other users would probably be confused and not get what was trying to be said. So, in using the same format (song, filter, text), these trends created a distributed language and any user who decides to join in further grows that language. According to Cowley (2007), “language relies on human biology to survive” and that “one organism produces an orientational influence in another organism” (p.576).

How “unico_uniuni” Cultivates Translanguaging (By Andrew de Guzman)

In this article, Andrew discusses posts from Unico_uniuni, a prevalent user on Instagram, and how those posts encourage Japanese and English comments.

Applying translanguaging on a social media platform (By Thiago Mantu)

Thiago’s article reflects on TikTok’s viral musical trend and how that trend challenged users to make use of English and their first language. 

Cognition in the wild Tik Tok (By Raenalyn Gabay)

Raenalyn’s article also discussed TikTok. However, she focused on the Chamoy Pickle Eating trend, and how distributed cognition and cognitive experiences play a role in this trend.

These articles and more can be read at the SLS 218 Newsletter! Please subscribe for more articles and to support our students’ hard work!