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With students without computers, GroupMe keeps you in touch

As a teacher, I’m always looking for better ways to communicate with my students. We know they don’t check email. Many don’t have access to a computer at home.

Thankfully, most students have cellphones. In my last post, I wrote about Google Voice Mass SMS, which allows you to send texts easily to groups of people.

But what if you want to have a conversation together among students? Sure, Edmodo is the best option, but that takes a computer. Twitter is blocked in schools, and even if it isn’t, my students think Twitter is weird.

Because my students love their phones — and because they love texting — GroupMe is perfect. Instead of sending individual texts, you text to a common phone number so everyone in your group sees everybody’s texts. It’s like a chat room on your phone.

It’s very simple to get started. You don’t have to sign up, you don’t need to maintain a contact list, you barely need to do anything. All you do is type in your phone number then go from there. Every command is done on your phone beginning with the pound sign (#).

The biggest limitation is that students need to have an unlimited text plan in order for GroupMe to make sense. There’s also a worry that students will overtext, but because you get every text, that’s easy to regulate.

I’ll be trying GroupMe with my junior advisees. We’ve been working together since their freshman year, so there’s enough trust. My hope is that a group conversation will spread accountability and encourage my students to help each other instead of to rely just on me.

Update: I just unveiled GroupMe with my junior advisees, and they loved it! We had a little talk about appropriate texting, and now we’ll see how we use GroupMe.

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  1. Pingback: ISEROTOPE » My students love GroupMe

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