We can wage an endless battle that is bound to get worse in the future, or we can engage those devices and make them work for us.
How many of us have used the money excuse to avoid using technology in our classrooms? Now there is no excuse. Have them pull out those texting tools and put them to good use.
We, teachers as facilitators of learning in the 21st century, still need to explicitly teach our kids how to use these devices in a responsible and safe way. Don’t expect students to pull out their cells and master their way to a peer-reviewed, scholarly article about the topic at hand; you have to teach them to do that. While we’re at it, know that they will text their friends the moment the cell phone is revealed; we have to teach them to be engaged and return to the topic–even if they are switching between tasks (don’t pretend you’re not reading this blog while flipping through several other browser tabs at the same time). We are teaching life skills here, and life skills involve responsibly making use of resources and meeting task objectives in a timely manner.
Our thinking really has to evolve as we continue venturing forward.