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Texting belongs in school!
No, that statement isn’t from an opinionated student who feels that they deserve the right and the privilege to use their mobile devices anytime and anywhere they please, although there are plenty of their peers out there who likely share this sentiment.
It’s actually a recommendation from some education leaders, who suggest that, while student use of mobile devices should likely be determined on a grade-by-grade basis, texting and text software could be perfect tools for teachers, staff and administrators. Having the staff able and willing to text to each other, and in some cases, their students, can even help security, improve internal and external communication, and even boost morale.
True, teachers who may be less accustomed to texting make sure they don’t succumb to the same temptation of some of their students and have a difficult time putting their phone away throughout the school day.
But if the administration comes up with some appropriate sms guidelines for staff that complement the ones given to students, the whole educational community can benefit.
Here are some examples:
- Staff communication. Whether it’s a teacher-to-teacher message or administrator-to-multiple –teachers message, either one could be a good way of getting info out in a hurry. Mass text software programs can make it simple to create different distribution lists, and compose messages to different groups. Maybe at a grade school the principal wants to send a note to the entire faculty at once about an upcoming event or change that they should be aware of. Or individual teachers may want to text each other during a break – or maybe sooner if they need help with something right away. Provided it’s not distracting to the classroom environment, it might be a better use of their time and help them keep control of their classroom if they send a text to a fellow teacher vs. leaving the classroom for a few minutes to visit another teacher’s classroom.
- Intra-class communications. At a higher grade level, perhaps older high school or college, instructors can offer to communicate with their class via sms. This will give him or her the ability to contact everyone all at once and ensure that they get the message. Since emails aren’t always reliable, and hard copies have a way of disappearing, a text might be a smart and fast way to send notifications, and also gets seen. Or, at a younger level, instead of texting students, a teacher might offer to send mass texts to their parents to remind them of details like upcoming projects, plays or conferences.
- Intra-departmental communications. Larger schools or colleges might benefit from segmenting texts to only certain groups of faculty or employees within a division. This group may be interested in what’s happening in that area, but other employees on campus may not as keen to learn the specific ins and outs, at least if they were happened to be included in a text chain. Texts within a department can include items about curriculum, certain students or instructors, or other relevant things taking place.
- Students are already on mobile. School is about the only time that some students are required to take a break from their phones. But teachers know that most students are actively using them before, after, and possibly during accepted times during the school day (lunch periods, etc.) School officials won’t have to try very hard to convince them, or perhaps their parents, to sign up for alerts from the school. This could be everything from routine useful news, like upcoming events or assemblies, to critical safety information like school closures for weather or safety.
- Teachers need the same info too. In the same vein, teachers also need to know the same information if there’s vital news to share, such as a weather-related closure or delay. In a security situation, teachers can also safely receive information from school administrators via text, rather than waiting for a phone call, email or personal visit.
- Texting can encourage student attendance and performance. EdWeek points out that positive texts from parents and/or instructors can be a useful motivator in several ways, leading to higher test scores and better attendance. Results were seen at all grade levels, from improving reading scores at the primary levels to higher scores on college applications. They don’t necessarily have to be over-the-top trite affirmations either – the texter can simply remind the recipient about assignments that are due soon.
- Teachers can share performance. A crummy report card can always disappear from the mailbox, but a teacher texting a parent a link to an online summary of their child’s current or progressive academic ups and downs can get attention.
For more suggestions on utilizing text software successfully in a school environment visit Trumpia.com.
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