A grandfather and grandmother recently had their teenage grandson with them for the weekend. The grandfather asked the grandson to help him straighten out the garage. Two people were needed to lift and move the heavy objects. Just after they started, the grandson stopped, pulled out his cell phone, read a text, and then responded. About five minutes later, he did the same. About three minutes more, he repeated this pattern of pausing whatever he was doing to answer the text. His grandfather mentioned that they could get the work done faster if the grandson did not stop so frequently to check his phone and text back. The grandson did not see any problem.
We can use this story to help us think about Web 2.0 in the classroom. Texting can be valuable as long as it is focused on the academic task. If a student is texting about non-academic things, then the texting is not productive. Being connected does not always translate into being on task or even into learning. In addition, the text needs to move the learning topic forward or at least to clarify the learning. Students need to be able to express their deep ideas in short phrases that others can understand.
So how do your students use texting in class or for school work?
My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.