Thanks to my twitter colleague Dan Rezac, I learned about a free resource called Contxts. Contxts uses SMS text messaging to send and receive mobile business cards. I LOVE this resource. I have investigated other resources that have a mobile business card feature, and found usually you need blue tooth, GPS, or an Internet browser on your cell phone to view and/or send digital business cards. While I'm certain in 5 years from now we will all be using cell phones that have these more advanced features, for the general public only about 30% have phones with these features (at least in the United States). Therefore, in order to make your business card accessible to ALL cell phones, creating one on Contxts using SMS texting is a smart option.
In Contxts, you are allowed 160 characters to put all your information into a mobile card. You create a unique keyword so anyone can send a new text message and receive your card. For example my keyword is KOLB. If you would like my business card you can send a text to 50500 and in the message type KOLB. Within seconds you will receive my business information as an SMS text message which you can save on your phone.
Classroom Integration Ideas:
While for professional reasons, having a mobile business card is handy for teachers. As the Contxt site says, "people do not lose a text message the morning after an event." It is an easy way for teachers and administrators to get their information to parents, students, or community members quickly and verbally. Mobile business cards can also be handy for students. Below I describe a few ways Contxts could be helpful in learning.
Flash Card Reviews
Each student in a class can create a "business card" as a 160 character flash card, give it a keyword. As a result, all the students in the class could exchange different flash cards for review. If the cards are saved on the students' phones, than the students can use them anytime for an instant review.
Students who are struggling with issues of depression, addiction, disease, anxieties, peer pressure, or other afflictions are often fearful to tell an adult. By giving students mobile business cards with help line information, they can contact the lines at anytime without fear of being identified.
Local Scavenger Hunts
Teachers can create keyword scavenger hunts using Contxts. For example, a teacher can create "clues" by using the 160 character business cards, and as students answer the clues and find the new locations for the scavenger hunt, they text a new keyword and receive a new clue. This would be a fun activity for local history, math students studying geometry, physics students, or even foreign language students could go around the city or just the school unraveling clues in other languages.
Students could team up with local businesses to create 160 character advertisements. For example students could create an ad slogan for a local coffee shop, along with a coupon...such as
"Drink a cup of Joe before 8 & Get a rebate...COUPON CODE: 721u". Students could create posters or a word of mouth campaign to try to get people to call in to hear the advertisement and the coupon code.
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