Texting Experiment

As I said last week, a pupil claimed to be able to text more quickly than she could handwrite. Ewan then kindly offered me a loan of a device that looks like a chunky mobile phone without a screen and operates as a usb keyboard.

With the Cre8txt device, my pupils did not manage to enter text very quickly. They complained that it didn't do predictive texting (it does have software to do this) and more importantly that it wasn't like their own phones.

I gave them the sentence "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" as a challenge using their own phones (so sack me!) and the quickest was 12 seconds. I reckon I can just about manage to handwrite that in 12 seconds, and can type it in 8 seconds, so 12 seconds is pretty good.

d pupils complained dat d sNteNc wz unfair cuz it didnt offer NE opps 2 uz d abbrz dat dey alwys uz!

One girl argued quite persuasively that they should be allowed to use this kind of txt-speak in their school notes. I cnt rly c NE diffrNce Btwen DIS & shrt& but I didn't want the school English teachers hammering on my door so I remained non-committal on this issue!

Several things struck me very clearly from our little experiment:

  • Pupils put a lot of time into learning to use their own phones effectively. They struggled when they tried to use someone else's phone;

  • Some young people can write more quickly with their own mobile phone than with a pencil;

  • Young people today are writing vastly more than we did when I was their age. Most of this writing is on computers and mobile phones.


The above points are, of course, generalisations. Some young people do not have computers at home, and some use their mobile phones infrequently.

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