Use Cel.ly in Daily Instruction and Communication

With administrative and parental approval, I use Cel.ly to send text message reminders, announcements, polls, and questions to my students. In the classroom, Cel.ly supports my instruction and creates an environment where every student has a chance to “voice” his or her opinion.  For example, when I show a short video clip I have my student’s text one significant fact or detail they learned to Cel.ly as they watch the video clip. After the video clip, I highlight some of the important topics discussed from their messages. Another way I use Cel.ly in my class is through polling.  I send a poll to student devices, they respond, and then we analyze the responses. It is an interesting way to gauge student comprehension, involve all student’s, and start a discussion. Through Cel.ly student’s text me with questions such as  “what is on the test tomorrow?” or “what did I miss in class today?” when absent. One student named Meghan commented that she enjoyed using cel.ly because “I could ask you a question at anytime and you would always be there to answer it!”

Here is what my student’s say about it: cel.ly

Cel.ly has also improved parent teacher communication in my classroom. Parents commented that they appreciated the text message reminders about homework & tests, updates about their child’s progress, and even enjoyed the in-class texting activities. Parents are now more informed about how their kids are doing and are better able to help their children with their schooling, which is key to student success.

 

The “secrets to success” in breaking the ban on cell phones

This post is crossed posted at The Innovative Educator written by Lisa Nielsen

 

Mobile devices have become one the fastest and most popular forms of communication.  They can be an important classroom tool, however many many schools regard them as disruptive, distracting, and have implemented zero tolerance policies that prohibit them. The reality is that students still use cell phones in school even if they are banned. According to Time Magazine, “even though the vast majority of students own cell phones–something like 80% by eighth grade–more than half of schools prohibit the use of any mobile device.” I  am amazed that teachers of the 21st century are not embracing the power of technology in their classrooms.


Surrounded by Mobile Devices
As a member of the millennial generation, I grew up surrounded by mobile devices. I find it difficult to go to meetings with paper and pen, or store papers in a file cabinet, or even use a book for my lesson plans. My life is digital and I think it is time for educators to teach our students to become members of the 21st century. Our students need to be taught to use technology to adapt and THRIVE in this ever-changing world.

 

Breaking the Ban in Four Schools
Since my very first year teaching, five years ago, I have encouraged other teachers and strongly persuaded my administrators to approve mobile devices in the classroom. Due to my husband’s job relocations, I have taught in five schools in both New York and Pennsylvania. Every school, except one in Westchester County, embraced this new form of technology. I have used mobile devices in my classroom for parent communication, polling, instant response, peer to peer contact, first day of school sharing, QR code web searches, and so much more.

As a first year teacher, I went to my principal in Geneva, NY and asked for permission to use cellular devices in class with my 8th grade students. His response was an enthusiastic Yes! My students looked forward to coming to my class because it was cool to learn through this new method. When I moved to another school in Trumansburg, NY, my principal was on the fence about it. I was able to win him over with the line “do you want

Image from Edudemic

to see it in action?” before you give your response. He came to observe my classroom. My students were placed into groups of two and I posted questions using Polls Everywhere as an instant response tool. My principal was amazed to learn about this new method of assessment and class participation that he had me demonstrate it at a faculty meeting.

When I moved to Hanover, PA, my principal at South Western High School highly supported the use of technology. Unfortunately, I felt like I was in a league of my own as I was the only teacher embracing it. As the year progressed, I took great pride in demonstrating to colleagues ways mobile devices could be implemented in a safe, supportive, and educational way. I showed teachers how to use Cel.ly in the classroom.  With administrative and parental approval, I use  Cel.ly to send text messages to my students with reminders, announcements, polls, questions, etc. Students could text me and ask a specific question such as “what is on the test tomorrow?” or ask “what did I miss in class?” when absent. One student named Meghan commented that she enjoyed using cel.ly because “I could ask you a question at anytime and you would always be there to answer it!”

 

Improve Parent Communication
Mobile devices have the potential to bridge the gap between the home, school, and social media world. At Hanover, PA, I encouraged parents to join my text messaging cell classroom group. I was surprised by the results. Of my 55 US history students, 35 of their parents participated. Parents commented that they appreciated the text message reminders about homework & tests, updates about their child’s progress, and even enjoyed the in-class texting activities. Parents are now more informed about how their kids are doing and are better able to help their children with their schooling, which is key to student success.

 

Ways to Use Mobile Devices in your Classroom
One activity in which I involved parents and mobile devices I call “text a friend.” For example, my students text a family member or friend asking the question ”Did you vote in the last election? Why or why not?”  Through the responses our class received we were able to learn firsthand far more than just having the textbook or teacher’s perspective. Mobile devices truly bring the

Two high school students participate in a QR code scavenger hunt about the Civil Rights Movement. One student in each group used their mobile device and a QR code scanner app to unlock the website and respond to the teacher’s prompt. Students explored the school looking for clues to learn about the movement.

world into your classroom.

 

This year I will be teaching in Cold Spring, NY, which is a very supportive and innovative district. This is the first year I am actively ENCOURAGING my students to use their mobile devices in the classroom. I made clear mobile device classroom expectations on an infographic. I am providing a student guide to technology assignment for homework during the first week of school.  I will be  urging my students to use applications on their devices: My Homework app to keep track of their assignments, a QR code reader for QR codes in my lessons, Easy Bib to properly cite sources, Evernote to take notes, SoundGecko to take any online text and convert it to mp3, just to name a few.   

 

Goals for the Future
My hope is that I will teach my students to be responsible with mobile devices and encourage them to use their devices for more than just for social purposes.  21st century technology has the potential to encourage student growth, collaboration, research, and skills they can apply throughout their life. Schools across the country need to be more flexible with their policies. Mobile devices can enhance instruction and learning if done appropriately.

Use Cel.ly to safely communicate and engage your students!

As many of you know Cel.ly is on the top five lists of AWESOME programs I use with my students. It may even be # 1!!! No, I do not work for them, but I find it to be one of the most useful programs I use daily with my students to increase student communication and collaboration in a safe and support environment. Cel.ly is changing the face of education!

 

What is Cel.ly?

According to the Cel.ly website, “A cell is our term for a mobile group network. Messages and polls sent to a cell are forwarded by Celly to specified cell members. In this way, Celly users can communicate and collaborate as a group in realtime using the immedicacy and convenience of text messaging. Additionally, from the Celly website you can send and receive cell messages, polls, and access other Celly features. Celly works with any regular phone that has SMS texting, or from any web enabled device; for instance, a tablet, smartphone, or laptop.”

 

How I use Cel.ly with my classes?

I use Cel.ly to send text messages to my students with reminders, announcements, polls, questions, etc. Students can text me and ask me a specific question such as “what is on the test tomorrow?” or ask “what did I miss in class?” when they were sick. Cell phones have the potential to bridge the gap between the home, school, and social media world.

Video Demonstration: How to use Cel.ly?
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Interesting ideas to incorporate mobile devices into your classroom

  • Create a Poll- This past fall I used Cel.ly to get instant audience feedback to a series of prompts using student cell phones. Polls can be multiple choice or an open ended responses. The responses can be posted directly on the board and are an interesting way to get instant feedback, even from your quietest students.
  • Create Text Messaging Group- I have my students join Cel.ly, which is a group chatroom, where my students can communicate instantly via text messaging. I have found Cel.ly to be one of the most beneficial social media programs I use in the classroom. Students communicate more with me through the use of their cell phones compared to any other form of communication. What impressed me the most this year was the number of parents that wanted to be included on the cell phone group. 
  • Cell Sharing- Ask students to locate a photo, song, or video from their mobile device that best represents them. They can then pair share their selection with the class and why it was selected. (Idea from Jackie Gerstein)
  • Random Question or Poll- Students can be assigned a random question from Question Cup and then post their response using  Cel.lyWallwisher or Wifitti. Responses can be posted on the whiteboard. (Idea from Jackie Gerstein)
  • Texting Interview- Students can be randomly paired together and provide them with a series of interview prompts. The pairs can text their questions and answers back and forth. The interviews can be summarized and shared with the class and posted on a sticky not board such as  Wallwisher or  Cel.ly.  (Idea modified from Jackie Gerstein)
  • Text a Friend- Students can text a friend or family member (outside of school) a question and then post the response on the whiteboard using  Cel.ly,  Wallwisher or Wifitti. Last year I posed the question, “What was one history event that impacted your lifetime?” I am a history teacher so this was an interesting way discuss the concept of why history matters and how my students are historians. This idea also works well with any topic. I have used text a friend multiple times such as “What do you know about Richard Nixon?” “Why was Bill Clinton impeached?” “Did you vote in the last election? Why or why not” Questions like these bring interesting and multiple perspectives into  the classroom. Many family members have also commented that they enjoy the conversations afterschool about the lesson.
  • QR Code Scavenger Hunt- You can design a QR code scavenger hunt for your classes to get your students moving, sharing, and bonding. Check out this simple QR Code Generator from Teacher Tools.

How can it increase parent communication? 

Last fall, I encouraged parents to join my text messaging classroom group. I was surprised with the results. Of my 55 US history students, 35 of their parents participated. Parents commented that they appreciated the text message reminders about homework & tests, updates about their child’s progress, and even the in class texting activities. Parents are now more informed about how their kids are doing and are better able to help their children with their schooling, which is key to student success.

 

Previous Posts About Cel.ly

  • Here is a previous post about Cel.ly adding email as a new addition to texting.
  • Here is a previous post about mobile devices in the classroom
  • Here is another post about Cel.ly adding polling
  • Here is another post about making texting positive with Cel.ly

 

 

Cellphones in School: Contraband or Classroom Tool

Text messaging has become one the fastest and most popular forms of communication. Just a few years ago, cell phones were seen as the newest teenage addiction. Today, however, they can be an important classroom tool, although some schools regard them as disruptive, distracting, and have implemented policies that prohibit using them on school grounds. Most parents are okay with cell phone use, the students are more than okay with cell phone use, yet schools have adopted zero tolerance policies. The reality is that students still use cell phones in school even if they are banned. According to Time Magazine, “even though the vast majority of students own cell phones–something like 80% by eighth grade–more than half of schools prohibit the use of any mobile device.”

 

Some teachers worry that cellphones will increase cheating, lead to sexting, decrease use of proper grammar, and be a distraction to learning.  While I can’t disprove these concerns, I can state that educating students about responsible and purposeful cellphone use is needed. What agitates me most about schools banning cellphones outright is that they are missing out on an opportunity for growth, collaboration, information, and FREE technology.

Increasing  costs and disappearing school funding has made updating technology often impossible and even basic school supplies dwindle. Challenging times require teachers to get creative. Schools across the country need to realize that the technology of the future is already in students’ back pockets, falling out of skinny jeans, or officially ”in their lockers.”

How long will it take schools to realize that banning cellphones is not the answer?
Why should cell phones be allowed in schools? 

I polled my students to discover that 95% of my 8th graders owned a cell phone and 55% of them had a smart device.  My students are not just making calls, texting, and updating Facebook. They are making social connections, collaborating, researching, and sharing information.

 

Schools across the country need to be more flexible with their cell phone policies. Cell phones can replace reference books, flip cameras, calculators, cameras, student planners, instant response devices, and so much more. They can save schools money and enhance instruction if done in an appropriate way.

 

With administrative and parental approval, I use a program called Cel.ly to send text messages to my students with reminders, announcements, polls, questions, etc. Students can text me and ask me a specific question such as “what is on the test tomorrow?” or ask “what did I miss in class?” when they were sick. Cell phones have the potential to bridge the gap between the home, school, and social media world.

How can cell phones increase parent communication?

Frequent communication with parents is a necessity, but newsletters, classroom emails, and letters home to parents are becoming outdated.  Last fall at South Western High School in Hanover, Pennsylvania, I encouraged parents to join my text messaging classroom group. I was surprised with the results. Of my 55 US history students, 35 of their parents participated. Parents commented that they appreciated the text message reminders about homework & tests, updates about their child’s progress, and even the in class texting activities. Parents are now more informed about how their kids are doing and are better able to help their children with their schooling, which is key to student success.

One activity in which I involved parents and cell phones I like to call “text a friend.” My students’ assignment was to text a family member or friend asking the question “Did you vote in the last election? Why or why not?”  Through the responses they received they learned firsthand far more than just having the textbook or teacher’s perspective. Cellphones truly brings the world into your classroom.

 

For More Information: Here is a previous blog post about the ways cell phones can enhance instruction in the classroom. Here is a post about 10 educational apps that can be used in the classroom.

 

Cel.ly adds Email!

I continued to be impressed with the updates of Cel.ly.  Cel.ly just announced that it will receive email for cell messages, private messages, and  various system notifications. New members can now sign up with their email (no cell phone required) so now ALL your students can benefit from Cel.ly. This is a wonderful addition to Cel.ly because now students can get email or text message announcements regardless of whether they own a cell phone or not. Thank you Cel.ly for making my classroom more of an engaging and equitable environment for all students.

 

 

What is Cel.ly?

Cel.ly is a wonderful FREE program that allows you to instantly message a group of people in your cell. Cel.ly can function as a chatroom where people can communication via text messaging. Anyone can create or join a cell by sending a text message to 23559 (Celly). Text messages can be curated for security purposes. Cel.ly is changing the face of education!

With administrative and parental approval, I use a program called Cel.ly to send text messages to my students with reminders, announcements, polls, questions, etc. Students can text me and ask me a specific question such as “what is on the test tomorrow?” or ask “what did I miss in class?” Cell phones have the potential to bridge the gap between the home, school, and social media world.

 

 

 

How can Cel.ly be used?

Celly turns classrooms, schools, teams, neighborhoods, offices, or any organization—big or small—into their own private communication networks. We call these “cells”. Cells let members communicate in a group using their phone (via text messaging) or the web. Communication is secure, private, and can be moderated by one or more curators.

Thousands of schools have already adopted Celly for a variety of scenarios from teacher-led study groups, link-crew mentoring, team sports, field trips, orchestra and band clubs. Cells are private by default so members are explicitly invited by a cell administrator. Celly lets students communicate with teachers and administrators at anytime—in class or out of class.

Teachers can send homework reminders to students via Celly. Students can ask teachers and fellow classmates about assignments. Student athletes and coaches use Celly to coordinate games and practices. School administrators use Celly to send out school-wide alerts and event information to parents. Parents can use Celly to coordinate daily schedules, keep in touch with extended family members, and organize reunions, weddings, vacations, neighborhood watch groups, and office work groups.

 

For more information Visit:

Previous Blog Post: Contraband or Classroom Tool?

Previous Blog Post: Bring your class into the 21st century with cell phones

Cel.ly Citation

 

 

 

 

Update your Instruction with Social Media

Social media is becoming embedded in our lives. Research has shown that there are many benefits to using social media to enhance instruction in the classroom. Students are more engaged using social media, and it is truly a wonderful way to spread information and make connections with students. Implementing social media into the classroom is very simple and can be done using a variety of simple to use resources:

Incorporate Twitter into your classroom- You can identify a major concept you want students to comprehend. Tweet the concept to your student. Allow students to respond to the concept through Twitter. Students can compare and contrast, share ideas, and develop their critical thinking skills. As you teach a lesson you can allow students to Tweet or back-channel their thoughts and comments during the lecture. You can even post the comments on the Smartboard. You can even respond to student questions this way. Another benefit to using Twitter is that it can positively and proactively involve all students in the learning process and create an interactive classroom.
Create a Social Media group- Students can meet on Facebook, Google+, or Edmodo in groups. Students can be provided with various concepts to explore or research. Students can embedded blog posts, project-based learning activities, or other alternative assessments into the social media website.
Students can create a video- Many students own devices such as cell phones, tablets, etc that can record and produce a mini video. Students can record a video and then upload their videos to google video or youtube. Students can comment on the videos or simply learn from their classmates. Here is a good tutorial if needed.
Summarize textbook chapters using blogs – Create a blog (I like EDU blogs). Have student create a blog post or summarize a major concept. Students can also comment on other student’s posts. Blogging can increase comprehension and provide a wonderful resource for review.
Text Announcements- As radical and extreme as that may sound, students respond well to text messages related to instruction (I use a program called Cel.ly). Teachers can create a groups of students or cells. Teacher’s can text reminders to a entire class or an individual students. Students can even text their teacher if they have a question. The best part is that it is a controlled environment in that Cel.ly keeps a record of every message placed.
For more information visit

Top 10 Tech Ideas to Try in your Classroom

1.  Edmodo � This microblogging site was created specifically for teachers and students. Edmodo can be used to share notes, files, assignments, grades, and events. 

2. Google Applications � This free web based suite of tools from Google gives classrooms the ability to collaborate and share assignments online. The suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool.

  • For more information click here
  • Here is a google form I made to monitor student and parent communication and here is a rubric I made using google applications.

3. Quizlet � Quizlet is a free flashcard creation site that can be used to study, create, and share flashcards. Teachers can create their own flashcards for students or use pre-submitted cards.

  • For more information click here and here

4. Wunderlist � Wunderlist makes it downright simple to organize your daily life. Just create a list and start filling it with things that need to be completed. Keep track of your more important tasks with reminders and notifications. It even syncs. For more information click here

5. Cel.ly � Celly creates mini social networks called cells that connect you with people and topics that matter most to you. A cell can contain anybody with a cellphone, people from your existing social networks, or any web feed.

6. QR (Quick response) Code is a barcode that can be scanned from any mobile device or computer. The code takes you to a specific website, content information, or more information about a particular concept.

7. Animoto �  Animoto is designed to bridge the gap between the high production value of film and television, and the more “amateur” feeling of most user-created videos and photo albums.

Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers by engaging their classrooms with a series of educational exercises and games. Our apps are super simple and take seconds to login. Socrative runs on tablets, smartphones, and laptops.

  • For more information here

9. Grade Chart is a simple grading tool for teachers and professors. Enter in the number of questions for the assignment you’re grading, and this will generate a quick reference chart to help you determine the grade percentage and letter grade for all possible numbers of missed questions.

  • For more information click here

10 Dropbox � is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again.

  • For more information click here

Celly added Polling

What is Cel.ly? Cel.ly creates mini social networks called cells that connect you with people and topics that matter most to you. A cell can contain anybody with a cellphone, people from your existing social networks, or any web feed. We let you define filters based on hashtags, location, time, and user identity so you can eliminate noise and get alerted only when relevant messages occur.

Group Polls: Cel.ly lets you instantly create group polls. You can setup a poll on any cell and have the members of that cell take the poll. Polls can be created on the go using your cellphone and sms text messaging or from the Celly website.  I have also used PollEverywhere before, but one of the benefits I see to using Cel.ly for polls is that my students are already registered and familiar with using Cel.ly

Here are instructions on using Cel.ly for polling–> Click Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Texting a Positive in School with Celly

I am a huge fan of using cell phones in the classroom as long as students use them properly and know their limitations. Over the last few years my favorite mass keyword texting app has shutdown (TXTblaster). As a result I have been looking for new FREE resources that would allow people to “opt in” and subscribe to my mass text alerts (without me having to type in everyone’s phone number). I have finally found one that I really LOVE called Celly.

What is Celly? 

Celly creates mini social networks called cells that connect you with people and topics that matter most to you. A cell can contain anybody with a cellphone, people from your existing social networks, or any web feed. The mission of Celly is to build a socially responsible and sustainable technology venture that transforms education and community with technology. They hope to empower communities and schools. They are changing the face of education!

Application

I created a group for each of my two classes to serve as a reminder for assignments. I also created a cell group for my club. The security settings for the club is “open” so that  any member in the club can text the club. My class is a “closed” cell, meaning that I am the only one who can text the entire class. My students can text me if they have a question. The best part is they do not have my real cell number and it is a controlled environment in that Celly keeps a record of every message placed. It is defiantly on my top ten list of FREE applications to try this school year.