This week I'm taking a few days off to ski, play with my dogs, visit with friends and family, and generally recharge my batteries. If you're on vacation this week too, I hope that you're having a great vacation. While I'm away I'm rerunning the most popular posts of the year. The selections are based on pageviews during 2012.
People, particularly teenagers, have an almost compulsive reaction to open text messages when their phones beep or buzz. So if you want to quickly deliver an important message to student or parent today, sending a text message is the best way to do it. Managing a list of cell phone numbers can be a daunting task. Here are seven services that educators can use to easily send and manage group text messages.
Class Parrot is a service that enables teachers to send text messages to groups of students and parents. Using Class Parrot teachers send text messages from their computers. Class Parrot keeps the students' and parents' phone numbers private. Here's how Class Parrot works; teachers create a different group messaging program for each class that they teach. Each group that a teacher creates is assigned a unique opt-in code. Teachers give that code to students and parents. Then if a student or parent would like to receive messages from the teacher, they can simply opt-in by texting the opt-in code to Class Parrot.
Class Pager is another service that teachers can use to send group text messages to their students. Using Class Pager teachers can send text messages to their students without either party seeing each other's real cell phone number. To get started using Class Pager, register yourself on the site. Class Pager will then provide you with an enrollment code to share with your students and their parents. When a student or parent sends a text to Class Pager with that code, he/she will be added to your roster. Then when you write a text message it will be sent to everyone who has opted into the service. A couple of fine print things to consider about Class Pager. Class Pager is free for your first class. Additional classes are available for a fee. You should also bear in mind that if your students don't have unlimited incoming text message plans, they could incur charges.
gText is a new service offering free group text messaging. A neat piece of information about gText is that it was developed by a high school student. gText allows you to send text messages to groups that you have created in your gText account. Your texts can be sent from your phone or from your computer. By default gText keeps group members' phone numbers private. Group members who want other group members to see their numbers can allow that. Beyond simple text messaging gText offers options for sharing files (although that could consume a lot of space on a phone), sharing images, and sharing calendars.
Kikutext is a service for keeping parents informed about your classroom and or school through text messages. The service is an opt-in service for parents. When you create a Kikutext account you're assigned an opt-in code to distribute to parents. Parents then send that code in a text message to register to receive messages from you. Kikutext keeps the phone numbers of parents and those of teachers and principals hidden from each other.
SendHub is the latest group text messaging system that I've discovered. To use SendHub give people the opt-in code to join your contact list. Once people opt-in you can put them into a group within your account. Then when you have a message for a group you can send it out to all members of that group without sending the message to your entire contact database.
WeTxt offers free group text messaging. WeTxt works with ten major cellular service providers to offer you the ability to send text messages to large groups at once. In addition to creating and sending initial messages, WeTxt offers an option for sending "reply all" messages. Messages can be sent from your mobile device or from your email account. A mobile calendar helps you keep track of items that you need to send out as text messages.
Remind 101 allows you to send text messages to groups of students and or parents from your computer. Like most of the other services in this list, Remind 101 uses an opt-in system. Students and parents who want to receive messages have to enter a code to sign up to receive messages.