Should You Text Your Students?

If you’re a higher ed administrator, teacher, or even student organizer then there’s something you should know. If you plan on reaching students and getting your message across then you may want to try texting and not rely on e-mail. However, there are privacy concerns with texting as you may want to have an opt-in strategy and not just start spamming your students.

A new Ball State University study says text messaging has far eclipsed e-mail and instant messaging as college students’ favored way of staying in touch.  The findings show that 97 percent of students now send and receive text messages, while only about a quarter of them use e-mail or instant messaging.

Ball State journalism professor Michael Hanley also found that smart phones now account for 49 percent of mobile communication devices on college campuses. That’s up more than 10 percent since last October.

He says that except for studying, students are quickly leaving computers and e-mail behind.  Hanley says college students’ hectic lifestyles are behind their embrace of smart phones and texting. He’s surveyed 5,500 students for his ongoing research.

What do you think? Would you prefer to reach students via text or email? While emailing is much easier, it apparently doesn’t yield the kind of results that would have a big enough impact.

However, there are two big concerns. The first is privacy. Students don’t want their teachers texting them. But what if your school had an opt-in texting system where students could get weekly texts about special events, etc.? That way it wouldn’t be too spammy.

Second, parental monitoring of texting is an area of concern when it comes to kids and cellphones. Services like kajeet.com, where Rick Bolander is a board member, can help you watch your child.