Sara over at Inside Ed just wrote about students texting in class, so I figured I should tell you all the results of my texting experiment. In a word: meh.
Results varied by class. First period was not so into texting their answers. This makes sense since a lot of the students don’t have phones (so why would it be fun?) A few kids seemed into it and asked to do it again, but if not everyone can participate, it’s not worth doing.
In fifth period I had more student interest. Unfortunately, I was almost foiled by a girl who first tried to claim that as soon as they took out their phones I was going to confiscate them (really? Am I that evil?) When that was unsuccessful, she told everyone that I was trying to get their phone numbers (to do what with? Prank call?)
It was pretty cool that as soon as a student voted for an answer choice the bar graph adjusted to show their vote. But, the kids were too into the texting, and not enough into the math part. It ended up being a huge distraction, and pretty much just took up too much time.
When we use technology in the classroom it can’t just be for the sake of using technology (which is what this was). Instead, I have to make sure that either students are learning how to learn technology or the technology actually enhances the lesson in some way. The texting experiment probably took away from the lesson.
One unexpected result was that cell phone usage in class actually DECREASED. When we were done texting, I told them that they’d met their cell phone in the class quota for the day, and that they needed to be put away. And they were.