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Book Review: Teaching Generation Text

Title:  Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones to Enhance Learning, by Lisa Nielsen and Willyn Webb. Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Description: Teachers who are tired of treating cell phones as the enemy may want to try enhancing curriculum to make the devices their friends. With Teaching Generation Text as a roadmap, Grade 5-12 educators looking to infuse technology into instruction will find themselves well equipped.  

Ageneration textlthough inviting mobile phones into the classroom can be daunting, teachers needn’t be frightened by the concept of students using the devices for learning. After digesting the philosophy of Teaching Generation Text, educators might begin to view cell phones as potential learning tools rather than “weapons of mass distraction.”

Nielsen and Webb make a great case for building a culture of technology within the classroom, even including tips on how to convince parents and administrators to buy into the idea. Packed with fun and creative ideas, the book offers an impressive amount of detail while remaining easy to understand and simple to follow.

Teaching Generation Text covers just about every element of cell phone use in a school setting and suggests many free and low-cost resources. The title also details student safety precautions and other forms of troubleshooting. For example, teachers can keep students on track by setting class-wide work reminders. 

Many of the lesson plans are heavy on collaborative learning, but educators will be pleasantly surprised by the wide spectrum of ideas. Some of the most attractive lessons incorporate research and investigative texting in ways that can help students succeed with future assignments. In addition, teachers will be able to implement multiple activities using the same relatively small set of resources and tools.

The value of Teaching Generation Text outweighs its few shortcomings, which include a sometimes-cluttered layout and a lack of images and visual examples.

Bottom Line:  The concept behind Teaching Generation Text is re-engaging students who live in a hyper-connected world. The book does a good job of incorporating many subjects and organizational tricks to help young people become solid cell-phone learners. While a bit lacking in visual examples, Teaching Generation Text is a must-have for those seeking professional development related to Web 2.0 technology in the classroom.

About the Author:  Lisa Nielsen works with schools to incorporate technology into the curriculum. She also writes the popular blog The Innovative Educator. Willyn Webb has over 20 years of experience in both teaching and administration and has written four books, ranging from educator professional development to children’s literature.

How to Purchase:  The book retails for about $10 (e-book version) and $17 (print version) and is available on Amazon.

Related resources

More Great Uses for Mobile Phones in Class
Integrating Cell Phones Into Lessons


Article by Jason Cunningham, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
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