Cell phones appearing everywhere

Published 7:12 pm Monday, February 28, 2005

By By Michele Gerlach Publisher
They are everywhere.
Cell phones, that is.
A USA Today poll of 1,006 people published Thursday showed that 56 percent own a cell phone, and 24 percent use that phone to text message a date or mate, up from 16 percent last year.
Once used primarily in cars, people are now chatting in the grocery, in department stores, at sporting events. They can be annoying there, but they're big trouble in the classroom-especially the text messaging part. It's difficult enough to hold students' attention, but when those students are distracted by text messaging, it's almost impossible.
Text messaging poses a whole different problem during testing. How can an instructor know if students are messaging about this weekend's game or the answers to the questions on which they're being tested?
Many a school code has outlawed them, and many instructors outlaw them, too.
Ed Williams, who once worked at The Standard and is now a journalism professor at Auburn, is among those who asks his students to make sure cell phones don't ring in class. It happens anyway.
But Ed's found a pretty interesting way of dealing with the problem: A student's cell phone rings in his class, he answers it.
Ed says there are announcements in his church's bulletin each week, reminding worshipers to turn their phones off during the service.
The young woman who "was sufficiently humiliated" by Professor Williams probably won't forget to turn her phone off during class any more. Do you suppose Ed's tactics might work for his minister, too?

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