Classrooms today have a texting epidemic. Students don’t seem to be able to refrain from going on their phones during class—they’re texting their friends, checking their social media, and all the while the professor/teacher is lecturing to deaf ears. I witnessed this firsthand in many of my college classes. And to the frustration of many teachers, I don’t think this kind of texting behavior is going to diminish any time soon.
As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em!
This article discusses texting and tweeting while in class and the impact it has on retention. Although texting in class has been linked in studies to lower test scores and poorer retention, a newer study sought to examine the effects of texting and tweeting class-related material. Students who participated in class-related texting proved to score equally as high as those who did not text at all.
For me, the implication of this study is that one of the best ways a teacher can fight young people’s obsession with texting is to join in the frenzy! A teacher can help hold his or her students’ interest by including text messaging in their classroom.
Texting in Class?
A few of my own professors occasionally included texting as part of their curricula, and I personally thought that it was a lot of fun. One professor used a web program to write a poll related to the material learned in class. He displayed the poll’s questions on a screen, and we as students could text in our answers to the questions. Then our answers would show up anonymously on the screen.
That professor’s use of texting in class is one example of how teachers are able to use text messaging as an aid to their lecture material. I don’t know if any of us scored better on our exams because of that activity, but it definitely held our interest!
Teachers are always looking for ways to relate to their students and to get their students’ attention. I think that texting in the classroom has the potential to be of great effectiveness for teachers, if used wisely. Using texts during class time to encourage student participation, or sending out text alerts regarding homework reminders, review questions, schedules/dates, extra credit assignments—there are a lot of ways to effectively incorporate texting in the classroom.