The Text Feature
    Everybody uses it. No modern phone is without it. People, especially young people, would rather text than talk. Texting makes up the bedrock of modern communication, most Americans would be lost without the ability to do so. With the prevalence of texting we might ask ourselves:  Can texting be used to further education goals? Some educators and researchers are saying that it can.
    Benjamin Castleman has been doing research into this question for a number of years. As a professor he started looking to texting as a way to resolve the “summer melt” that colleges experience. "Summer melt” occurs when the number of students signed up for college at the end of May and the number that start classes in September is noticeably less. This is a frustration for college recruiters and admissions departments. Professor Castleman decided to look into the effectiveness of texting students during the after high school summer with information as to what they needed to do next and prompts to accomplish these tasks. You can read and hear an interview with Professor Castleman at this website.
    If we find Castleman’s research interesting for teenagers on their way to college, can similar texting schemes work for younger students as well? In a field research paper by Peter Bergman, the researchers looked into whether giving parents information on their children’s performance affected that performance. It was noted that parents might have a much higher impression of their child’s effort than that child really showed. This mentality stems in part from information on performance coming through the child themselves. Bergman wanted to see what would happen if social media, including texting, was used to give unfiltered updates to the parents. As the report shows the change showed an impressive benefit from the change.
    Finally a Stanford research effort is looking into the use of texts to assist preschoolers and their parents. This is actually the use that excited me the most. In the project teachers and education staff would send reading tips daily to the phones of participating families. These would be specific things the parents could do with their children that have shown to dramatically increase reading ability once school begins.
    In the above we see that texting can be used throughout the life of a student. This method has a number of benefits.
    • Compared to other education initiatives it is relatively inexpensive

    • It works with slight tweaks all throughout a child’s school career

    • Parents are empowered to assist in their child’s school career

    • Students do better in school

    The benefits these programs display show that texting should be a social media opportunity more schools might want to explore. At Bright Futures USA we are always happy to highlight quality methods our affiliates can use to help their educational institutions.