How do I keep students from texting and Facebooking in class (or utilize these technologies for learning)?

There are a range of responses and tactics for addressing this issue and much of it comes down to instructor preference. On one end of the scale, instructors can clearly stipulate that using digital devices of any kind (cell/smart phone, tablet, laptop) is prohibited during class or at least during lecture. With that said, this is becoming increasingly impractical in large classes since devices continue to shrink and students’ ability to use them covertly has only improved. Instructors can instead capitalize on the fact that the majority of students own and and are proficient in using digital devices. A few options are listed below:



  • Facilitate collaborative group projects with technologies such as Google Docs (see example), Prezi (see example), or Mindomo (see example) that gives students a co-editable web space within which to interact and co-create.
  • Allow students to curate and create mashups of web resources related to lecture and course activities with tools such as StorifyPinterestScoopitDeliciousDiigoGoogle Reader (and other RSS aggregators such as YahooPipes), or Evernote. See this resource on how to integrate curation activities in your course.

Double Espresso-level: