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Teachers, stay in touch with students with SmashText

 I don’t review apps and services as much as I used to, but if you’re a teacher, you must absolutely check out SmashText by Despain Computing.

SmashText lets you send texts to groups of people in your Gmail contacts.

For me, that means my students. If I want to text just a few of them, I use Google Voice. But if I need to text an entire class, SmashText is the answer.

My students report they find my texts helpful. I always tell them that they can opt out, but none of them have. It’s clear that texting is by far the best way to communicate with students: They all have cell phones, and they check their phone much more often than they check their computer.

SmashText is what’s making my “Your Homework is Due Tonight” project happen. Students who don’t turn in their homework by the 11 p.m. deadline get a text to finish it before class the next day or to meet with me before school. SmashText makes this process easy.

Matthew Despain, the owner of SmashText, is also extremely helpful. When I’ve had trouble with the application, I’ve sent emails to him for support and have received responses very quickly, sometimes in minutes.

I love SmashText. It costs $10.58, and it’s worth it. It helps me communicate with my students much more effectively than an email message, a Facebook post, or a telephone call. If you’re interested in SmashText but are worried about spending the money (no, I’m not making money from this), let me know.

Update: Please see the comments. Mr. Despain is no longer developing SmashText, which is too bad for me and other teachers. (Kevin, thanks for writing in to confirm.) 

5 comments

  1. Geoff

    Have you heard of MXit? There’s been a bunch of research on its use in math ed in South Africa. What kind of phones do students use? (eg do any still have ‘old school’ nokias and such or is it all smartphones now?) Are there any students without cellphones? Ok: back to thesis. Peace- gk

  2. Mark Isero

    Thank you, Geoff. I’ll check out MXit. It sounds a little like GroupMe, which is good for smaller groups. About 2/3 of my students have smartphones. I can’t go ahead with Google Forms or anything Internet-based…yet.

    • Mark Isero

      Hey Kevin. It’s true that SmashText is no longer being developed actively. Matthew let me know a few months ago. It’s too bad — because SmashText was (and still is) the best overall solution for teachers to text their students and parents.

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