Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Don't text and walk, people!

I do a biogeography simulation lab with my ecology class. Most of them enjoy it: it's a pretty fun lab, and for a fairly simple simulation, it works well and shows the principles I want to show. (I didn't make it up; I got it from a person at another university who writes labs "to share and adapt.")

Anyway, my class was in the middle of the lab - it's an exercise that takes a lot of space, so I have them work out in the hallway. My colleagues don't complain, in fact, the ones who happen to walk by often stop to kibitz with the students as they work.

(And an aside: I think - with the exception of the Guy Who Can't Be Arsed To Come To Class - this is a really good group. They are independent workers, they don't come running to me every three minutes asking something they could figure out on their own, they're NICE to each other (that's important) and they seem to enjoy lab).

So anyway, they were working - a couple groups had finished and left, but several groups were still working. The general bio (non-majors, mostly freshmen) lab down the hall lets out. About 10 of the people leaving that lab IMMEDIATELY pull out their phone/pda/Blackberry and start texting - NOT LOOKING WHERE THEY ARE GOING.

One kid nearly collided with one of my students. Another several wound up walking through the experiment (luckily they did not ruin anything). One guy from my class grabbed another kid by the arm to keep him from tripping over the lab stuff.

I mean, seriously. I will say I once had to break really fast and really hard driving through an apartment complex near campus because a resident walked right out into the street, texting, didn't even look to see if cars were coming.

A lot of states have laws that ban texting while driving. While I hate the proliferation of laws like that, if someone is seriously stupid enough not to realize that they are a threat on the road, I don't want them taking out someone I love - or maybe me - in a car wreck.

So, are we going to have to have laws to ban WALKING while texting? (Or will they just ban people from driving in residential/school neighborhoods to "do it for the children" (or in this case, overgrown teenagers) who are not bright enough to either turn off the device or look up once in a while?)

1 comment:

Mr. Bingley said...

I run into this, literally, several times a day in Manhattan.

No one is watching where they walk whilst texting. so I always just stop and let them walk into me.

friggin' jerks.