5 Reasons to Allow Texting in Class

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photo credit: ANguyenPhoto via photopin cc
photo credit: ANguyenPhoto via photopin cc

Are  your students texting in class? Of course they are. A better question is, are you allowing your students to send text messages? If not, why?

The picture above is what happens in most classes. Students hide their mobile devices and surreptitiously send text messages to their friends. In many cases they may be texting peers in the same room. Teachers fear this secret texting in class and, in many cases, ban the use of mobile devices entirely.

A better practice is to embrace the mobile devices and the text messaging.

5 reasons to allow text messaging in your classroom

1 — Not allowing texting encourages it. The more we take things from students, the more they want them. Mobile devices become a forbidden fruit, if we hang them from a tree. However, if we tell students to take out their mobile devices and place them on their tables, the desire to use them inappropriately will soon disappear.

2 — Text messaging applications create safe texting environments. Texting programs like Cell.ly, demonstrated in the video below, eliminate the fear of sharing phone numbers and allow teachers to moderate messages before they are sent.

3 — Text messaging inspires all students to participate. Want every student to participate in your class discussion? Inform your students the day before a text messaging activity that they should bring their devices, and you’ll get 100 percent participation. Even the shyest students love text messaging.

4 — Text messaging makes learning fun. A 2012 study indicates that teens 13-17 average more than 3,400 text messages per month. Obviously, kids want to send text messages. Why not ask them to text each other about academic concepts and skills? Have a lively discussion about a historical event. Ask students how they solved a math problem or how to apply a formula to something outside of school. If you’re really easy going, you’ll allow them to text about last weekend’s dance or last night’s volleyball game. Now, the text messaging becomes even more fun, and students will engage in your academic discussions more readily.

5 — Mobile learning is the way of the future. While many schools continue to write strict “no cell phone” policies, others are embracing the mobile learning era that is growing daily. With the staggering statistics of students using mobile devices daily and the rate at which Smartphones and tablets are being produced, it won’t be long before every child has some kind of mobile device. It’s time for school administrators and teachers to embrace mobile learning. Text messaging in class is a wonderful place to start.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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