Today the humble text message turns twenty. It was in 1992 that the first text message was sent an engineer from Vodafone, sent the message “Merry Christmas” from a PC to a mobile device using Vodafone’s UK network.
I don’t recall the first text message I sent, but it was one technology that I have never really taken advantage of. The average number of text messages sent per month is fifty, in November I sent twenty-five. I only really started sending text messages when I got my first iPhone. I think my problem was with predictive text or even understanding texting language. The advantage of the iPhone was a proper keyboard and not needing to try and use a numeric keypad. I could never get my head around the numeric keypad and did like and prefer the qwerty keyboard.
Still have that today when people send me texts, sometimes I have no idea what they are trying to say! I know, I know, I am getting old…
There are signs from Ofcom that the use of texting has peaked and is on a decline. However I suspect there are many colleges and universities out there which are not making the most of SMS and in many ways you could argue that they have missed the boat on this. Unless you are at the point of a mainstream rollout, I would say now is not the time to start researching or planning, or setting up a project on SMS texting. Still time to make the most of it with students perhaps in the classroom, but even then maybe using a different service would be a better idea.
BBC reports on the survey from Becta about how schools need to use e-mail and SMS to communicate more with parents.
Many parents would like school reports on their children’s performance texted or e-mailed, a survey says.
One in 12 of the 1,493 parents polled by government education technology agency Becta said schools kept them informed using these methods.
But 68% of parents said they wanted schools to use such technologies to keep them up to date more frequently.
Of course if schools are to take heed of this survey, then FE Colleges need to do likewise. Does your FE College already communicate to the students by e-mail and/or SMS text messaging? Can the students communicate back?
From the Guardian…
In case anyone reading this is one of the 68,000 individuals who apparently interfaced thus with street furniture in London last year (mostly resulting in cuts and bruises, but with a fair proportion of broken noses, cheekbones and one fractured skull in the mix too) and therefore is self-evidently stupid enough to need the problem further delineated, these are injuries caused by people who do not understand the importance of peripheral vision. Until, that is, they compromise it by texting as they walk along the street and into lampposts, signs, bollards and other pedestrians.
I demonstrated Jaiku at ALT-C and then sent a good hour out of session taking to a English Literature lecturer who was very interested in using Jaiku (or Twitter) to enhance a session on discussing a book.
The book was set in a cafe, and he wanted the students to go to a cafe and then post their observations and discuss the book whilst drinking in a cafe.
Obviously you could do this face to face (difficult in a cafe to find enough chairs) likewise you could use a moodle discussion forum (such as this one), however one of the strengths of using something like Jaiku or Twitter was that the students wouldn’t need a wireless laptop, all they need is a phone capable of SMS and what student doesn’t have a phone these days?
Well it would seem that we Britons like our SMS text messages. At the last count we were sending one billion of them weekly!
Britons are now sending more than one billion text messages per week according to the latest figures from the Mobile Data Association (MDA).
From the BBC.
Personally I am not a great fan of SMS in the main as I don’t like small phone keyboards, liked it when I could use it through my Mac OS X address book, but have generally either used the phone or e-mail.