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Do Texts Have a Place in Education?

Do Texts Have a Place in Education?

According to University of Virginia education professor Benjamin Castleman, not only do text messages have a place in education, but they also might be a solution to boosting student achievement.

Chris Berdik from The Hechinger Report took a look at Castleman's new book,The 160-Character Solution: How Text Messaging and Other Behavioral Strategies can Improve Education, and his theory behind the bold and typically opposed theory.

Part of the reason behind Castleman's support of texting in the classroom is not only because its accessible to most, but also because "the advantages of texting go beyond its popularity with hard-to-reach teenagers. New software makes it possible to customize automated text messages to fit the needs of individual students," Berdik said.

In other words, Castleman believes texts represent a sort of personalized learning where the brief exchanges can provide students with individualized resources and links in a timely manner.

Castleman also suggests that texts can be beneficial during summer brain drain, where students can lose up to 40 percent of learned material in summer vacation. Through increased communications with guidance counselors and administration during this time, students might be more likely to retain.

To support his claims, Castleman looked at an instance where a texting team "programmed software that would send a summer’s worth of weekly, personalized text messages to thousands of recent high school graduates in several cities, offering deadline reminders, links to documents and resources and connections to professional advisors ready to answer their texted questions."

70 percent of students who received the texts went on to college versus 63 percent of students who did not.

Of course, despite his belief in the educational value of text messages, he emphasizes the need for thoughtful use to supplement in instruction, not distract it.

"Despite touting a “solution” in his book title, Castleman admits that text messages aren’t silver bullets. They should supplement, rather than replace, other interventions, and they don’t always work," said Berdik.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/16/2015

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