Texting in class

Inside Higher Ed had an interesting post today on the a recent study that was done to measure how much texting takes place in university classrooms. Here are some of the findings that they reported:

  • 95 percent of students bring their phones to class every day.
  • 91 percent have used their phones to text message during class time.
  • Almost half of respondents said it was easy to text in class without instructors being aware.
  • 99 percent said they should be permitted to retain their cell phones while in class.
  • 62 percent said they should be allowed to text in class as long as they don’t disturb their classmates. (About a quarter of the students stated that texting creates a distraction to those sitting nearby.)
  • 10 percent said that they have sent or received text messages during exams, and 3 percent admitted to transmitting exam information during a test.

First, fess up. Have you ever texted in a class? Second, what do you think about texting in class (never, sometimes, who cares)?

I’ll get things started by admitting that I’ve texted in class. And, it was my own class. (The class had just broken into small discussion groups, and I was momentarily free.) And, I’ve sent emails while sitting in a class many times. (Is there any real difference between texting and emailing during a class?)

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on December 2, 2010, in Academics, Teaching Tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Years ago when I was a full time student I texted but I wouldn’t do it now.

    As a pastor I an tell when the young people are on their phones and when they are on Facebook during my preaching. I take it personally and find it distracting to me….

    • I used to use my phone every now and then during a sermon to take a note on something the pastor has said. Usually it was because they’ve raised a question in my mind that I want to chase down later, or I’d gotten an idea for a sermon of my own some time. But, every time I did it, I felt like I was disturbing the people around me and that everyone was going to assume I was texting or emailing. So, now I rarely do it.

      • The churches I have been in previously people have taken notes (the old fashioned way) but in my current church I know people don’t do that so it is kind of a dead giveaway.

        I was in the creche with my son a few weeks ago and a young guy was on the sound desk (Which backs on to the creche window. I saw him on FB during the sermon and taped on the window! It was mildly satisfying! 😉

      • He was probably just FBing important thoughts from the sermon.

      • HAHAHAHA!

  2. Marc:

    I have noticed most inter-est-ing activity while sitting in the back of one of your favorite classes this semester, everything from wikis, very occasional texts, news feeds, tweets, re-reading blog posts etc. The variety of activity and actors has been one of the most amusing and eye-opening experiences that I have encountered in academia. It has been truly an education that has awakened me from my fossilized world of Luddite-dom 😉

    • Hmmm. Now that’s interesting. And most interesting is the fact that we’ve managed to have a lot of really good class discussions at the same time.

      • Actually they don’t seem to miss a beat in class which causes me to wonder … how do they process it all…are they dual core 😉

  3. I have texted many times in class. I do so less now as my new phone is not a touch screen so I cannot casually type messages with my pen. Texting is fine if you are not disturbing/offending anyone but in exams???

  4. I text in class on occasion, but not too often. Having a touch screen makes it quite discreet.

  5. I notice that none of my own students have been brave enough to confess their own texting practices.

  6. I also hear on occasion that people shouldn’t text in class because it bothers the students around them. I wonder if this is still true now that texting has become so common. Do students really find it distracting when other people are texting (as long as they are doing it discretely)?

  7. Marc: I think it can be distracting if it’s constant. Even when the keys make no sound, someone constantly picking up and putting down the phone is too much distraction to me.

    • I think that’s why some people just keep their phones in their laps during class. (We teachers do see some things.)

  8. I texted once in class to tell the person I was in class. However, since I sit in the front of the room and the teacher is my boss (and has also verbally slandered and threatened me at times: see appropriate links) I refrain from texting in class.

    • Slander? Are you denying that you said that? I’m pretty sure that I quoted you verbatim on that particular issue. (Context is overrated.)

      And, I completely deny that the latter link involved a threat. It was a simple question inquiring into your whereabouts.

  9. After I sit in my last “in class” session w. Marc on Wednesday I will then admit that I have txt’d in his class….oh, wait, did I just admit to too early?!

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