Emoji Meanings Differ Across Generations… Good News for This Year’s Graduates… Should Instructors Allow Smartphones in Class?

Emoji Meanings Differ Across Generations

You’re showing your age if you think the sneezing emoji 🤧 means you’re sick. While millennials take the image literally, Gen Z uses a completely different interpretation, as in “That’s sick!” or to translate, “That’s good!”

Although each generation has long adapted language to express its particular values and beliefs, this behavior causes confusion in today’s workplace, where boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z mingle. But emojis have joined the lexicon, and they are increasingly causing misunderstandings.

According to a survey by Duolingo and Slack, 74 percent of respondents admit to experiencing emoji use confusion. For example, the versatile kissy face 😗 means general affection to some, Platonic love to others, or even romantic love. It’s no wonder use of the popular image in the workplace has been responsible for communication glitches.

The situation is linked to age. The younger the employee, the more meaning the worker attaches to an emoji. A lack of an emoji can likewise cause awkwardness. Such was the case of a 23-year-old staffer who received a simple message from an older coworker: Okay. The youthful recipient worried that the colleague’s lack of a smiley face indicated anger.

Emoji usage at work is constantly evolving. The best advice seems to be to take a cue from how supervisors and coworkers use them and follow their lead.

Source: Lynch, S. (2022, November 4.) This is what Gen Z thinks about their coworkers’ emoji use. Fast Company. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com

Good News for This Year’s Graduates

Employers plan to tap new college graduates this spring, according to research conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The industries most eager to hire include finance, insurance, real estate, computer, and electronics manufacturing.

NACE connects college career services professionals and recruiters while providing research and forecasting about employment and college-educated individuals. The latest NACE survey found that despite growing worries about a recession, companies have unfilled positions and are anxious to close that gap. The research also found that even the tech sector is anxious to hire, despite massive layoffs at Microsoft and Meta.

Similarly, firms are returning to more in-person events to grab graduates’ attention.

Source: Ellis, L. (2022, October 26.) College seniors can expect lots of job offers next spring. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com

Should Instructors Allow Smartphones in Class?

Instructors have varying approaches to smartphone use in class. Below are three types of policies and their rationales.

1. No phones. Professors who do not allow cellphone use say doing so prevents students from tuning out during classwork and discussions. When students do not comply with the rule, instructors ask those individuals to put away their devices unless they are on an emergency watch.

2. Limited phone use. This tactic allows students to consult their phones only after they have given their full attention to a lesson or lecture for 20-30-minutes. Instructors say this approach is best codified in the course syllabus and requires verbal reminders that the phone break is X minutes away.

3. Integrating smartphones into class. In this strategy, the instructor asks students to use their phones for a specific reason. Some days students are told to use their phones to discover a point about a lesson. When finished, they are told to put their phones away. Other instructors only allow students to use their phones to take images of lecture slides.

One instructor actually performed research about how student work was affected by allowing smartphones in class. She randomly divided the class into sections. One group was allowed phones while the other was not. The results were not surprising: Student without their phones exhibited better comprehension, less anxiety, and more mindfulness.

Source: McMurtrie, B. (2022, October 20.) Should you allow cellphones in class? The Chronicle: Teaching Newsletter. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com

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