Texting, a favorite and seemingly instinctive activity for teens, has loomed over education and parenthood for several years. Many adults felt like it would mash proper English into the ground and was a distraction from serious learning.
The average number of texts by U.S. teens 13-17 has reached 2,900 a month, according to Nielsen, the media and marketing information company. And The New York Times reported in May that physicians and psychiatrists fear texting is taking a toll on teens' sleep patterns and ability to think for themselves.
But now some teachers in Charlotte and nationwide are seeking to harness its power and making peace with it. Researchers back this new approach with new evidence that texting teaches some positive language skills, and pragmatists argue that a war on texting is unwinnable.
Make a place for the giant thumb, these experts argue. In the words of teacher Annie McCanless of Providence High School, "It's here to stay."
McCanless, a civics teacher and swim coach, believes texting has become "an established part of teens' lives" and can be used as "a real tool as opposed to a hindrance."
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