In this age of Facebook, Twitter, texting, video chatting, email, and blogging it is close to impossible to be disconnected from technology for very long. In college, professors often allow people to take notes on their laptops, but ask that people stay offline and shut off their cell phones. In my experience, this rarely happens.
I see students chatting on their Facebook pages and fooling around on websites. And I always see people texting. I never bring my laptop to class, but occasionally I do text if I'm bored. There have been times when I have been in class or at work and have to handle something that just cannot wait, so I end up texting. When a crisis occurs in your professional life--in my case, the school newspaper of which I am one of the editors, or Communication Arts Society of which I am the president--it would be unprofessional if you do not handle it in a timely fashion.
The last time this happened to me was Monday during my political science class. Production night at The Circle was the next night and we (my co-editor and I) had nothing for our section. Which was alarming since the news section is responsible for the front page. As soon as we realized this, I started texting my go-to reporters about stories that needed to be done in the next 24 hours. This was going on while the professor, who I have the utmost respect for, lectured about political regimes. I felt incredibly rude since I was texting throughout the whole class, but I felt that the issue could not wait until after class.
In cases such as this, using technology during classes and other times when "phones should be turned off" should be acceptable. Although I am a student, I still have responsibilities other than class that need to be tended to. Should everything come to a halt while I'm in class?
A classmate of mine had a similar story last year when she was the president of a club. Basically, something went awry with an event that her club was planning and she was on her Blackberry the whole class emailing and texting in order to avoid a catastrophe.
So, the question is: When is texting/being on your phone acceptable in a situation when it is normally unacceptable? More specifically, should students get less grief for texting in class if it's really important?