Whether you teacher teenagers or five-year-olds, keeping in touch with students and/or their parents is often on a teacher’s to-do list. Gone are the days of sending home hand-written and photocopied notes to parents, this is 2013. So how do important messages get passed along these days? In “real” life (read: non-school life), most people are sending text messages to pass along their most important (and unimportant!) messages to those who need to know.
So why not use the same easy and popular method in your classrooms?
Many people think that sending group text messages is a cumbersome process: inputting each individual’s information into your address book, and creating a ‘message’ for each class by manually adding each contact in? It sounds annoying even typing it. Lots of other people thought so, too, and thus there are a number of group text messaging services out there, some even specially designed for use by teachers who need to keep in touch with groups of students or parents. Here are a few that we find easy to use and classroom friendly:
We’ve mentioned Remind101 before here on Edudemic. More than once, in fact. It’s been dubbed ‘Twitter for Teachers”, a name that highlights a different way of using the service than we’re highlighting here. Using this service, teachers can create groups. Each group will have a code to give out to students and parents. Using that code, they can send an email or a text to sign up for the service (and they can also choose to opt out later). Teachers and others in the group never see other phone numbers or emails, and the service also allows you to schedule messages in advance, which can be a great time saver for busier times of the school year. Teachers send messages using their computer, rather than their own phone, which helps to ensure privacy (and crazy text messaging charges)!
ClassPager works much the same way as Remind101: teachers send messages from their computer to phones using group enrollment codes, everyone’s numbers are private, and members of the group can text back and forth easily. The service also offers an additional idea on how to use it in the classroom: use it to ask questions during class or to take polls. ClassPager offers users one class for free, and then additional classes are either $10 or $20 per month ($10 per month gets you unlimited classrooms and up to 75 students; $20 per month is for 200 students and unlimited classrooms).
Again, similar to Remind101 and ClassPager, ClassParrot lets teachers use their computer to send text messages to students and/or parents, users can opt in or out, and phone numbers are kept private. The first twenty messages you send are free, and beyond that, ClassParrot is a pay service. Individual teachers can buy an unlimited plan for $9 per month, or if you’re looking to subscribe for a whole school or larger group, there are bundled plans available.