Want better results? Get pupils texting in lessons

New research appears to show that if the teacher can get pupils texting on the subject in hand, their marks will improve

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The Independent Online

Texting during lessons, it seems, doesn't always put a student off their work. Up until now, all research suggested that pupils who text during their lessons end up with less of an understanding of the topic being discussed – and their marks suffer as a result.

Now, however, new research published by The National Communications Association appears to show that if the teacher can get them texting on the subject in hand, their marks will improve. The research, Mobile Phones in the Classroom: Examining the Effects of Texting, Twitter and Message Content on Student Learning, says that texting relevant messages has the same effect as taking copious notes during lessons. Pupils who did this ended up with higher marks in their tests than the rest of the class.

However, those that decided to use their time to send messages "unrelated to the class" took lower quality notes and scored up to 17 per cent lower in tests than the control group.

The researchers conclude: "While many instructors assume that mobile devices interrupt learning processes in the classroom – even when they are related to material being studied – this research points to the value that such devices may impart." Put another way, a complete ban on texting and messaging may not be such a good idea. It exhorts teachers to build the use of texting into their lesson plans. Again, put simply, it means: welcome to the modern world. Embrace it!

Students, it seems, are nothing if not an honest bunch. Buried away in the annual survey of student opinion by the Higher Education Policy Institute and the Higher Education Academy is a section that asks those disappointed with what their courses offered why that was.

Top of the list, with 36 per cent of students admitting it, is: "I haven't put in enough effort." Ah. Not much the policy wonks can do about that.