Group Texting Programs: The Next Big Wave?

Group texting programs fall into two categories.  The first category consists of teacher- to-student text programs such as Reminder 101, . In these programs, the teacher sends out  text reminders, announcements, notes, etc. to the whole class with just a click of button. These programs are teacher -centered since the teacher pushes out information but the students cannot respond. Some program may allow for the teacher to send out  surveys or polls.

The other category for group texting progams is student centered. In programs such as Cel.ly,, any  student can respond.  Any student can create a new topic for discussion.  The class can have an online discussion, create a collaborative story, contribute their individual reactions, etc.  Students can interact with each other about a learning topic.

David Murphy wonders if  group texting is shaping up to be the next big battleground between the Web’s social (or search) superstars.

I would like to see the following in any new  educational group texting program that allow all users to participate:
- Students  can  easily join the texting group without the teacher having to put in each students’ number or name Teachers can just give out a code.
- The class texting is self-contained, private and secure.
- Teachers or students can create distinct  conversation topics.

-The teacher or students can go back and review the previous conversations.
- Each conversation topic has its own name.
- Each conversation is self-contained.
- Within each conversation, there can be threads so students can follow a particular topic.
- The teacher can choose from an open chat to a moderated chat.  Some teachers may want to start out with moderated chats  to help students learn how to better communicate.
- The texting will be free.  Students and teachers will not be charged texting units against their data plan since the class texting generates  so many texts. For example, if twenty five students make four comments each, that is 100 text messages.
- The program will allow students with a laptop or desktop  to text.
- Students and teachers can send pictures or images.
- The teacher can sort the participants  or see an alphabetical list of all participant within a conversation to see if all have participated.
- The teacher can privately text students to offer encouragement or to offer suggestions for improvement.
- The group texting program will be free to use.
- The texting program will connect to or allow easy transfer to other social media.

If you know of a group texting program that meets those characteristics, please let me know so I can share it with my readers.

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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2 Responses to “Group Texting Programs: The Next Big Wave?”


  1. 1 Greg Passmore (@g_pass) October 16, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Hey Harry. Thanks for this post. I’m the CTO and cofounder of Celly and I thought i’d chime in to let you know we share your goals. I’ll address your comments point by point:

    - Students can easily join the texting group without the teacher having to put in each students’ number or name Teachers can just give out a code.

    *celly works like this, each group has a distinct cell name name that people text to join or can enter in the app

    - The class texting is self-contained, private and secure.

    * this is how our cells work

    - Teachers or students can create distinct conversation topics.

    * we achieve this with the use of hashtags or with multiple cells for topics that take on a life of their own. students can even setup their own cells

    -The teacher or students can go back and review the previous conversations.

    * we have a full archive of every text on the web or in our apps

    - Each conversation topic has its own name./ – Each conversation is self-contained / . – Within each conversation, there can be threads so students can follow a particular topic.

    * this is achieved with multiple cells or hashtags for each topic

    – The teacher can choose from an open chat to a moderated chat. Some teachers may want to start out with moderated chats to help students learn how to better communicate.

    * we have three modes: open chat, curated chat (moderated) or alert only, depending on the maturity, size, and nature of the conversation. you can change modes at any time

    - The texting will be free. Students and teachers will not be charged texting units against their data plan since the class texting generates so many texts. For example, if twenty five students make four comments each, that is 100 text messages.

    * there are technical limitations here. we do have a web app and iphone/android apps that don’t cost text messages. we don’t charge any messaging fees for SMS/text but the carriers do, and they are not willing to give us any breaks. the best answer here is to use our apps if possible or have unlimited texting.

    – The program will allow students with a laptop or desktop to text.

    *We have a great website, and a really amazing next version coming out very soon. students can participate entirely on the web, or take their conversation from sms/app to the web when they want

    – Students and teachers can send pictures or images.

    * the next version of our service has pictures, dropbox attachments, and google drive attachments. I can set you up with a preview of our new site if you email support at cel.ly

    - The teacher can sort the participants or see an alphabetical list of all participant within a conversation to see if all have participated.

    * we have full member lists and stats about member participation in messaging and in polls.

    – The teacher can privately text students to offer encouragement or to offer suggestions for improvement.

    * celly has private messaging

    - The group texting program will be free to use.

    * this is true for celly, although we do have a leaders package that adds extra functionality

    - The texting program will connect to or allow easy transfer to other social media.

    * we can bring in messages automatically from RSS or twitter feeds. we are working on posting to twitter and other mediums from within celly

  2. 2 Free Shipping Items April 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    You’re so cool! I don’t think I’ve truly read through anything like
    this before. So great to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject matter.
    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site
    is something that is needed on the internet,
    someone with a little originality!


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