An assistant professor at Marshall says texting students may be the next step in higher education learning.
One Marshall University professor thinks text messaging is a tool to reach college students across the country. Dr. Kay Swartzelder is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions School of Nursing. She said the idea just made sense, to tap into one of the most used methods of media consumption that students use, their smart phones and text messaging.
“I look at it as students are our customers, it’s our job and as a professional I want to get my message to the students the best way and students learn different whether we like it or not,” Swartzwelder said.
But they don’t, said Swartzwelder. According to Swartzwelder the typical millennial, the term used for the age group that students make up, doesn’t learn in the old fashioned way. She said they no longer thrive in a setting that includes sitting in a classroom listening to lectures and taking notes. She said they are very interactive and are constantly consuming media at each turn.
“The students are changing, they multi-task, they are always doing 3 or 4 things at a time even when they are studying, they’re texting and listening to music,” Swartzwelder said.
So Swartzwelder said she found a program that will allow her to send a mass text to a group of students. Her idea was to examine an online class she was teaching by separating the groups in the class. One group did things the traditional way, by responding discussion prompts on a message board each week. The other 60 students received text messages too. Students replied in a text through an application on their phone. While the overall test scores haven’t shown a substantial improvement Swartzwelder said the response discussions how a more attentive group of students.
"I look at it as students are our customers, it's our job and as a professional I want to get my message to the students the best way and students learn different whether we like it or not," Swartzwelder said.
The professor of nursing says the next step is using programs like poll in conjunction with the text messaging. Much like the widely used clicker programs found in new smart classrooms that allow students to select A,B,C, or D for an answer to a question and then see the percentages for each answer, the poll everywhere program allows students to respond using texting on their phone. Swartzwelder said it’s about finding new ways to help students learn the material.
Swartzwelder’s paper “Examing the Efect of Texting on Students’ Perception of Learning” has been accepted for publication in Nursing Education Perspectives.