Wednesday, December 26, 2007

3Jam...Collaboartive Text Messaging!

Text messaging is one of the most popular ways for students to use their cell phones according to the recent Disney survey. Therefore, teachers can take advantage of this and find ways to include text messaging in their learning environment. But for a teacher to text message their entire class, and then have specific cooperative groups message each other back and forth is very difficult on a cell phone (because there is no "reply to all" option), so 3Jam has come up with a solution. 3Jam will help anyone create a group message where the recipients can "reply to all". This is a free resource and one that could come in very handy for group or collaborative projects, classroom management/communication, and school-wide communication.

One example would be brainstorming. If the teacher wanted students who were doing group projects to brainstorm ideas for their project for homework, they could use 3Jam to start a text messaging group (which can include or not include the teacher) for their brainstorming. They can simply choose "reply to all" when they have a new idea for the group. Now, I know that many educators are afraid to include cell phones in the classroom, but this application could be very useful when students finish a test. Students usually finish a test at different rates, so they are often given a busy work-homework assignment to do so they will not disrupt the other students. However, they could work on their collaborative class or group project (quietly of course) by texting their ideas or information back and forth to their group members who are finish (the teacher could also be included on the group text to make sure it is legitimate messaging). While I know this is not an option for many teachers, it could be a possible option in the future.

Another way to use this is for homework help, assignment reminders, or even parent information. The teacher can use 3Jam to quickly send out these group messages to all the students or parents. This could also be handy for school security, if the school needs to contact parents quickly, while some may not have email or may not check their email very often parents are more likely to have a cell phone with them so they could receive a text message about school releasing early or snow days.

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