Message Options

Today, I had a choice to send an Instant Message (IM) to my instructor, Norm, or to send him a text. The goal is to use a new technology.  Ultimately, the exposure to using technology in different settings as a student will aid me in deciding whether to incorporate the technology into a class when I’m the instructor.  Since I send IMs frequently through Skype, sending a text for an educational purpose seemed the obvious choice.

So, I sent Norm a text message. There was no learning curve involved to send the text; I text frequently with my children and friends. In fact, it probably took me longer to program his cell phone number in my phone than it did to write and reply to Norm. However, I have to say it felt odd to send Norm a text message because up until today, I had only sent text messages to people I’ve actually met. Also, I have to say, it was fun. Although he posts a picture and a welcome podcast, I’ve never met Norm. I think I felt comfortable sending him a text because he had posted the podcast. While a stranger, through emails, messages, and course materials, it seemed typical to send him a text. His response was similar to one I’d receive from anyone I know. Thus, it was a positive experience.

I foresee the day coming when the only contact number I have will belong to my cell phone. Thus, since I do believe it important to offer telephone access to students, the reality is if my students want to contact me, they would be able to text me. I will let students know that while they are able to call me, they should refrain from sending me a text message and contact me in writing by email. Otherwise, I foresee total chaos for me to keep matters organized. By using email (or an LMS message system if available), the likelihood of maintaining the information on a computer system is far better than that of me keeping a text message on a phone that inevitably will give me problems.


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