A few days ago I posted about Wiggio, a site that allows for group communication and collaboration, where you can get notifications via SMS text. One of the limitations of the site is that you cannot post from your cell phone to the group, you must have Internet access to get to the Wiggio site. I think this may limit how many students can fully participate in Wiggio since some of them will not have Internet access at home. A site called Tatango may be an alternative for groups where all members do not have accessible Internet outside of school.
Tatango allows for group communication via web and/or cell phone. Tatango allows anyone to create a group, add members, and have text or audio message communication via cell phone. The cell phone communication is two-way, so group members can post to the other members via cell (audio or text) and respond via cell. All of the communication is documentated in the Tatango site. Tatango does not do is have a nifty calendar/schedule or resource folder like Wiggio does. But Tatango is more accessible for visually impaired students because they can take advantage of the audio feature for posting and replying to the group messages. In addition, Tatango does have a "public" option where you can create public groups. While I think most teachers would deselect this option for obvious safety issues, there could be some interesting class projects using this feature. One example would be to have a group created around a current events topic and get quick opinions on the topic (for example stem cell research in science or a supreme court ruling in social studies), especially if the topic affects different areas of the country in various ways (such as more federal funding being given to New Orleans and less federal funding to another area).
Comparision Wiggio & Tatango
Privacy Options - Both
SMS notifications - Both
Audio notifications - Tatango
Reply via Cell to Group - Tatango
Calendar/Schedule Feature - Wiggio
Resource Storage - Wiggio
Conference Calling with Group Members - Wiggio
Online Polling (not cell phone based) - Wiggio
Curriculum Integration Ideas for Tatango
Tatango would be a great way to create a homework help line that students could participate in. Since all communication is documented it is a great way to not only get help, but for the teacher to see who is struggling and in what areas.
Discussions on Curriculum Topics
After students finishing reading an chapter in their class novel, they could have an SMS text or Audio discussion on the reading to get them ready for class the next day. The whole discussion is documented in Tatango, so the students can use it for review later on and the teacher can use it to learn what they students understand and what questions may have arisen.
Documenting Group Work
This is pretty obvious but still should be acknwoleged that studnets in groups could use this to forumate and brainstrom ideas.
I could see students who are reporters for the school newspaper using this resource to get quotes and interview community members. Since the quotes and interviews can immediately go to all the reporters (or just the teacher/student editor) they could get immediate feedback on their quote and find out if there are other questions they should be asking.
Students in foriegn language classes could use this to practice their oral and text language skills with each other through a group conversation. Since text messaging is so popular in other countries (as I have learned from Kevin Gaugler and Barbara Lindsey) students should know how to communicate via text in foriegn countries as well as orally and by traditional writing.
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