GroupMe, a group text messaging service, recently won SXSW’s Digital Breakout Award. I can see why. My students love GroupMe.
GroupMe gives you a phone number that you can share with a group. Text that number, and everyone gets it. You can also conference call.
Since my post in September, my students have used GroupMe to get help on their homework and to coordinate class projects. There’s plenty of room for jokes and banter, too.
Even students with computers prefer GroupMe. It’s faster than Facebook. I love Edmodo, but it’s just not as universal as GroupMe. GroupMe is just a text away, and you get the whole group at the same time.
The only problem comes if the group becomes too large. One of my groups is 17 students big, and there was conflict a couple months ago when someone thought GroupMe was Twitter. For students without unlimited text plans, it doesn’t work. Even though you can mute incoming texts, it’s best when everyone in the group gets the messages.
Next year, I think I’m going to require students to sign up either for GroupMe or another service that will encourage peer support. The best classes are ones where students know they can get help from the teacher but also realize the importance of supporting each other.