Instant messaging (IM) is a form of online communication that allows real-time interaction through computers or mobile devices. Although typed text remains the primary convention for IM, the technology now allows users to send images, audio and video files, and other attachments. Hundreds of millions of people use IM to stay connected. In many ways, it epitomizes the notion of the always-connected, multitasking student, sending and receiving messages at all hours, from a wide spectrum of devices, while doing several other things at the same time. IM has become such an integral part of students' lives that many colleges and universities are working to move it beyond the social sphere into teaching and learning.
The "7 Things You Should Know About..." series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning practices and technologies. Each brief focuses on a single practice or technology and describes what it is, how it works, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use ELI's "7 Things You Should Know About..." briefs to gain a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues.
In addition to the "7 Things You Should Know Aboutâ€¦" briefs, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution. To learn more, please visit the ELI Resources page.