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Text Engine

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education

Community rating

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense

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Price: Free, Paid
Platforms: Android, iPhone

Community Rating

Skip the Web! Use Text Messages to Search Online

Overall, I can see Text Engine being useful for simple searches on very clear, concise topics. I believe students would enjoy this as a new tool, but when they see the number of texts per query or get misinformation, they will be discouraged from using it often. Since most of my students that have phones already have WiFi connectivity, they will probably prefer regular web searches. However, for students with more simple phones this could be a good way to help them feel connected and make their phones more useful for coursework.

A final big issue might be the amount of texts received with each request. The directions alone were delivered as 10 text messages. Each query returns multiple texts, even for something that seems short (like a definition). Since I did not pay for the ad-less version ($2), every response includes at least 2 texts with ad content. If I had a set number of texts per month, I would not want to use this service very often. Students would be leery, as well. The numerous texts also means more scrolling through them, which can become a drag if you have multiple pieces of information you're trying to use. I am not sure why single text messages aren't used, but perhaps there is a character limit on Text Engine's end that causes this. Either way, it could be a deterrent for students and adults alike.

Overall, though, I like Text Engine's intent and I enjoyed pulling up directions and other facts this way. Not only does it allow me to avoid other apps (and data usage), but I can easily copy and paste the texts to share with others as needed. Perhaps those elements alone are enough to make this worth using in a classroom.

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