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Yes, It is OK to Text in Class

I have been on Twitter for several years. I enjoy following the 1:1 environments and technology integration happening in classrooms at all levels K-12 (and beyond). I know many educators are utilizing the technology that students have right at their finger tips. But, that said – I know there are educators that want to learn more about using this type of technology.

Last week I shared one of my submissions to the Smarter Balance Digital Library. This week I would like to share another. I strongly believe we must be teaching our students for THEIR futures and not OUR pasts. Technology is one way to engage students in enhancing their 21st century learning skills. When I worked on submissions for the Smarter Balance Digital Library I focused on ways to use technology in the area of formative assessment.

The following plan is one way to introduce the use of texting (and other digital tools) as a means to collect formative assessment data. It was written as a professional learning experience for teachers, but could be used as a self-study as well.

Learning Target: Educators will learn how to use texting, and other digital tools, to gain feedback on student learning.

Success Criteria: Educators can use texting and other digital tools to gain feedback on student learning

Initial Resource:

This video shows ELA teacher, Sara Brown Wessling, using the aspect of texting on cell phones as a way to assess the previous day’s learning.

Today, educators have additional digital options to gain feedback on student learning.


Have educators brainstorm ways they gain feedback of students’ learning.


View Teaching Channel Video: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/texting-to-assess-learning


Questions provided with Teaching Channel Video include:

  • How does this strategy benefit both the teacher and the students?
  • If all your students don’t have cell phones, how could you adapt this strategy?
  • What does using word clouds add to this strategy?

Digital Resources to Explore to Capture Student Learning:

Some schools may have “rules” about not using phones in the classroom. Some educators also realize that not all their students have devices. Primary student may not carry phones as of yet. Rather than look at these as reasons not to try gather feedback via technology … look into the many tools that may be available right at your fingertips!

  • Poll Everywhere: http://www.polleverywhere.com/
    • Poll Everywhere lets you engage your audience or class anywhere in real time. Options include multiple choice, open-ended responses, clickable images polls and discourse polls (where audience submits free text responses which can be upvoted or downvoted by fellow audience members). (FREE option available along with pricing plans.)
    • How To Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS1919w5oBM
  • Today’s Meet: https://todaysmeet.com/
    • Today’s Meet is the premier backchannel chat platform for classroom teachers and learners. Designed for teachers, Today’s Meet takes great care to respect the needs and privacy of students while giving educators the tools for success. (FREE)
    • How To Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gkl8EgFEKvY
  • Google Drive/Docs
  • Mentimeter: https://www.mentimeter.com/
    • MindMeisteris a tool that allows to collaboratively create mind maps and share them online. It can be used for real-time collaboration and brainstorming sessions. Users can create, manage and share mind maps online and access them anytime, from anywhere. (FREE and paid versions available)
    • How To Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U39AlqbjWmU

Next Steps

  • Decide on a tool to try with students to gain insight on previous learning.
  • Come back together with fellow educators to discuss use of tool and effects with students.
    • What were the successes?
    • What were the challenges?

Adult learning theory reminds us that we need to use new strategies or approaches about 23 times before we are comfortable with them.  Too often we try things once and if they didn’t work as we had wished, we abandon. Don’t give up that fast! Keep working with the tool AND collaborating with others!

What tools do you use gather formative assessment data?

How do you use this data?

What advice do you have for other educators?

Resources that may be of interest:



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Keep Shining, 


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