We love technology and we share our passion with our Mandarin teacher. One session, he asked me to be sure to bring the iPad to class as he wanted to try texting MeiLi. He had come to learn that when she didn't know a word she would resort to saying "I don't know" or saying it in English, rather than to struggle to find an alternative word to communicate her thought.
It was the quietest class I believe they ever had but it was great as it enabled her to break through an invisible barrier she had in her mind. She was forced to communicate in her second language in writing rather than verbally and she really enjoyed it. It helped to build her confidence as it allowed her the freedom to use words she knew but perhaps wasn't confident in pronouncing.
I was impressed with the length (they carried on in this way for nearly an hour) but to be honest, I myself can only recognize a handful of these characters.