If you’re like most teachers, you’ve probably banned cell phone use and texting in the classroom. It’s the new form of passing notes—some students can even hold their phone in their laps and type out texts without even having to take their eyes off the board. However, what if, instead of forbidding students to text, you encouraged it?
It might sound like a slippery slope, but texting can actually be a useful way to stay in touch with your students and their parents. It can even help encourage student participation in the classroom. Here are three tools that can make texting manageable—and even fun!—for teachers and students.
Remind. To avoid the sticky privacy issues of giving out your phone number to students (and vice versa), try the Remind app. Teachers can create groups with a code to give out to students and parents who can then subscribe to the group by text or email. Participants in the group can’t see each other’s phone numbers and teachers can even send the texts from their computers. The best part? Teachers can schedule messages in advance to avoid forgetting during the busier times of the school year.
Poll Everywhere. This website allows teachers to create polls students then use text messaging to enter their answer. The poll will show live updates as the responses come in, but individual student answers will be kept anonymous. A poll can be a great way to guide how students use their phones in the classroom. You can give them a little leeway, while keeping the activity constructive.
StudyBoost.com. Since many students already use their phone as their preferred method of emailing and searching the web, it makes sense they would also prefer using it to study. StudyBoost.com uses texting and instant messages to help students study by creating SMS-based quizzes. These can be either self-created by the motivated student or teacher-created as an additional learning guide. The questions can be multiple choice or open-ended. Students can even connect to the app through Facebook.
By taking the initiative to make texting acceptable at certain times during the school day, teachers can use a potential distraction to their advantage. Of course, you’ll likely still have to watch for the sneaky lap-texter—but some things never change.
Interested in other ways to integrate technology into your classroom? Request a free demo from ClassBook.com.