Text Messaging in the Classroom
Author: Kevin Schuchmann, teacher at West Delaware High School, as part of A Teacher Life Guest Blog Series
My love for PDA’s goes way back to when Dick Tracy used his wristwatch to communicate with the rest of his squad in the comic strips. As a kid I’d always think how cool would be if that stuff actually worked. Today it doesand I can, too. Personal devices seem to have turned into a hobby for me. Currently I’ve got a couple of iPads, a smartphone, and an Archos Tablet in addition to all the laptops I’ve got laying around.
My love for PDA’s probably gave me the incentive to quickly take advantage of Wiggio’s fantastic texting feature. Over 95 percent of the students in my classes have cell phones. That number may actually be low.
Wiggio allows me to instantly connect with my students in a very short time. Just the other day I was away from school and was checking my email. I received an email that confirmed that our high school softball team was recognized as having the second highest non-weighted GPA for a high school in the country by the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association. I quickly moved to the browser on my smart phone, logged into Wiggio, and within a few minutes 95 people on my softball list found out that same news. I’ve also been able to let that same group of 95 know within a few minutes that a softball game was cancelled or that bad weather was on its way and that practices were cancelled.
Wiggio text messaging is a standard Web 2.0 tool in my class. It’s simple to use and also provides a “paper trail” of what was sent, who it was sent to, and when it was sent. As a teacher, I really like the security that Wiggio has to offer. I also like the option that allows individuals to block their cell phone and email information. Even though I contact students on a regular basis through texting, I still have no idea what their cell phone numbers are.
Anytime I update grades, I’ll send out a mass text message to make sure students log in online to check out their current scores to see if I messed up on anything. I’ve also used the texting feature for trivia games or reviews. Send out a question and see who responds back.
One of my favorite stories I have to share about the Wiggio texting feature is that one Friday afternoon I found the billfold of a student who was long gone. It contained his driver’s license and some cash. Knowing I had his name in a Wiggio account, I simply texted him where his lost billfold would be and that a janitor would let him in my classroom. He returned to school and picked up his billfold later on that afternoon.
Take that Dick Tracy.