Why Texting in Class Might Actually Be a Good Thing

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

If you’re a parent, teacher, or student, you probably won’t be surprised by these statistics: In schools that permit cell phones, 71 percent of students text during class. In schools that ban cell phones entirely, the percentage is nearly as high: 58 percent. And whether they’re in school or not, half of teens send over 50 text messages per day.

While we frequently hear teachers and parents complaining about these statistics, not all adults see these numbers as a bad thing. In fact, a small but growing number of educators are exploring how cell phones might be used to help students learn more and learn better.

Kevin Thomas taught high school english for 15 years and is currently a professor at the Bellarmine School of Education. He regularly uses cell phones as a teaching tool.

Marc Prensky is an education and technology expert and the author of “Teaching Digital Natives” and the forthcoming book “Brain Gain: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom.”


Marc Prensky and Kevin Thomas

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [11]

Autumn from wyo.

you go girl!!

Dec. 02 2013 01:04 PM
your butt


Mar. 05 2013 01:39 PM
none yo bidness from none yo bidness

They so should

Dec. 11 2012 12:31 PM

Any kind of "screen" (tv, ipod, computer, video game, etc) affects the development of a person, specially to a child.

Please see the following information about "MEDIA & Waldorf Education"

A Paul Zehrer video from the Marin Waldorf School

Waldorf school media policies have been an issue on the front burner since Waldorf schools and media have been around. Now, with the rapidly increasing use of media by children and families in school, at work and at home, the topic takes on even greater importance.

Filmaker Paul Zehrer has produced an excellent video for the Marin Waldorf School on media and how it touches children's and families' lives.

It's up-to-date, fast-paced, informative and a must-see for teachers, parents and families.


Jul. 02 2012 10:45 PM
d rogowski

oops - I somehow posted my comment in the wrong discussion. Sorry folks.

May. 23 2012 11:58 AM
D rogowski

Yes - they study less because college now is easier. Fewer classes (credits) are required to earn a degree than it was 20, and even 10 years ago. When I was an undergraduate a degree required around 134 credits, now most public universities only require 122, and in Texas, there is talk of dropping that down to 110! So - fewer classes, less studying required. Employers in the sciences are noticing, I am a prof. and we are getting complaints that our current students do not know as much as students graduating 10 years ago, and are not qualified. Yes, we tell them, that is because they are taking 3-4 classes less in their major than they were 10 years ago. We are doing what the state tells us.

May. 23 2012 10:32 AM
KF from south Florida

I believe that advertising has a direct role in this matter. Its not just faculty or students not wanting to work, its just advertising every where we go. If not on the radio, on electronic journals, and socialization, its we as humans get distracted and loose our focus to that advertising.

May. 23 2012 09:46 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Er...How about we better grasp the cognitive effects of electronic gadgets before we go embedding them in the sacred classroom (where we have enough problems already)? There's a lot to indicate that these have potentially debilitating negative effects -- inattentiveness, addiction, immediate gratification dependency, shallow thought, etc. -- that COUNTERACT learning, productivity, active citizenship, etc.

May. 22 2012 09:12 AM
Ron in Amherst from Amherst, MA

I teach at a liberal arts college that has small discussion-based classes. My students do not text, and I have never had to ask them not to, because they value real interaction. It's hard to see how dividing one's attention between machines and other, real and present people will someday be a "necessity" as one of your guests said. Multi-tasking is an illusion that prevents depth of concentration and attention.

May. 22 2012 08:50 AM

Who is paying for the cell phones and monthly fees? Seems like some students might be better "equipped" than others, which can cause more distractions...

May. 22 2012 08:49 AM
dan from Washington, DC

Cell phones should definitely not be allowed in the classroom. I can think of at least 6 reasons, but for the sake of brevity, I will cite just one in particular. One of the largest, actively growing areas of concern over the current tech age is the "learned distractibility" that results from the constant influx/efflux of information- everyone has ADD and the current generation has even been dubbed the ADD generation. The classroom should be one of those places that nurtures communication and learning through face to face interactions, enabling the development of oral speaking and listening skills, intuition and the ability to interact with people "organically". Don't get me wrong- I love my Iphone and my mac, but if we were to bring iphones into the classroom, this would only further individual dependency on technology and the continually shrinking ability to focus. (Online homework and classes are the place for gadgets).

May. 22 2012 07:22 AM

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