I recently came across a site called Boostup. The purpose of the site is to help motivate teens to graduate high school who are struggling because of various adversities. It is set up so anyone can send a boost to one of the teens through a variety of digital resources, one option being a text message. I think this is a good example of a positive use of student's digital "toys" in order to help others. Boostup turns the cell phone into a service device, a way to reach out and help others. Schools could set up "help lines" and "mentorship" programs via text messaging with the aid of resources such as Wiffiti (private interactive text messaging board that could be monitored) or Textmarks (create keywords for students and their mentors for private conversations or public displays of motivation and good wishes).
Text messaging could also be set up by teachers/schools as a way to reinforce positive behavior. For example when a student wins awards, solves a difficult problem, or just have a good day in school, the teacher could send out a text message highlighting the child's accomplishment to family, friends, and even commnity members on an approved list. In turn those who receive the text message could send a congratulatory message to the student---creating a positive reinforcment/boost campaign. This might be just what some struggling students need!
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