Professor to students: Text away


Fifteen percent of teens who text said they send and receive more than 200 messages every day, or 6,000 per month. The Pew research shows that girls are more likely to text than boys; girls send and receive 80 texts a day, on average, compared with 30 daily text messages for boys.

Taking an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach to in-class texting, Cimino said, could signal a new approach to a problem that has drawn students’ attention away from lectures for several years.

“Depending on the teacher’s policy on cell phones, kids are adept at texting under their desks or in the pockets of their hoodies. They find a way without having to look at the keys on their phones,” she said. “The students would be texting no matter what. And as annoying as that seems, it’s very difficult for teachers to police this activity.”

Some in higher education have taken a far more hard-line approach to electronic chatting during lectures. The University of Chicago Law School in 2008 became the nation’s first institution to shut off wireless internet access during class, although laptops were still permitted for note taking.

Saul Levmore, dean of the Chicago law school, said the decision was an easy one.

When officials discovered they could turn off wireless access in classrooms, “we felt that we ought to move in that direction,” Levmore said.

Professors at law schools across the country said webless classrooms have not been students’ favorite policy, but some University of Chicago students supported Levmore’s decision.

“When a student visits my office, neither the student nor I would dream of surfing the web or eMailing while communicating with one another,” he said. “That is the level of attention and engagement we should expect in the classroom.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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