Learning by texting

"Texting eclipses calling among US teenagers", a recent article from the BBC website was so titled.

While there wasn't even a dictionary entry of the word "text" being used as a verb as recently as twenty years ago, "texting" has become the most popular form of communication among teenagers in the US, according to a research study.

More than 30% of the young people send more than 100 texts a day. Two thirds of teenagers are more likely to "text" their friends than call them on the phone. On average, girls send 80 messages per day while boys send 30.

"Texting is now the central hub of communication in the lives of teens today, and it has really skyrocketed in the last 18 months," said Amanda Lenhart, one of the researchers. "We have kind of hit a tipping point where teens now expect other teens to respond to text messaging and to be available."

Realising how big mobile phones are a part of life of children and teenagers and applying the principle of "education by stealth", western countries, especially the Scandinavian ones, have been designing activities which make use of mobile technology to provide learning opportunities for them. While Hong Kong has been promoting "IT in Education" for years, educators have yet to be aware of, let alone capitalise on the promise of mobile technology.

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