Well after days of searching the web, my tech guy told me about School Central (http://yourschoolcentral.com), a site we use to post messages as a district through texting. So after a few more days working through the instructions I finally took it to my class. I asked the students to create their free accounts and follow the directions to join my group. Then after sharing the number and directions on they could send or respond to texts the texting began. In reality only a handful of students actual did texting when the phone line opened.
One bonus to School Central was that students could setup their account to receive text messages, e-mails or both. This way students who did not have unlimited texting could at least get the messages through e-mail. To my surprise several of the students setup their account only to get e-mails. As we moved forward I’ve asked students why they didn’t want to receive text messages and the answer turned out to be pretty simple. They feared that with twenty students texting that there would be a ton of messages to deal with.
After the first week I’ve used this to send out reminders about assignments and due dates. I’ve also sent out questions for students to reflect on. I’ve done nothing yet to force students to respond back to the group. I’m waiting to see if this can take off on it’s own. So far only couple of students have sent messages back to the class through this method.
The concept of using the cell phone to text about school work seems a little foreign even to my students at this time. More to come.