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How can SMS texting benefit students, parents, and teachers?

Olena Kozhevnikova
09 June, 2021

Over more than a year, the education sector is going through COVID-19 pandemic upheaval, very difficult for both teachers and students. Shifting back and forth between in-class learning and home-schooling has become an ongoing issue. Everyone hopes that as we head into the new academic year, students will finally return to the classrooms for good, with all coronavirus safety measures in place.

On the face of things, SMS messaging is irrelevant to education ― it is considered distractive. In fact, almost all educational establishments ban phones during classes right down. But with the ubiquitous introduction of online learning, texting solutions for schools have quickly found a lot of applications across and the entire field.

Everybody checks their phones ― on average 58 times daily, wherever they are. This is the reason for the SMS’s stunning 98% open rate. Bearing this in mind, many teachers and board members use urgent text notifications to connect the administration with the classrooms and security in emergency situations: terrorist attacks, weather-related calamities, and similar, when time is quite vital. In case of emergency, the clogged-up phone lines are among the most dangerous things to happen, while texting provides real-time peace of mind for hundreds of parents.

Since spring 2020, SMS alert systems inform parents and students of emergency lockdowns and institution closures, also to prevent people from finding themselves in danger. Meanwhile, teachers have started to use this channel for texting students reminders, for being more accessible to students and parents, so the latter can remain in the loop with daily class activities in the most effective way. And in view of the schools’ cut financing, the affordability of SMS makes it the communication channel of choice for education.

How schools already use SMS to improve educational processes?

If you need to prompt to check online learning platforms or inboxes for important updates, If a lesson was moved to a different premise or in the timetable, there is no better way than teacher-student texting to communicate that information directly at all education levels.

Thus, preschool settings, such as in Las Cruces, State New Mexico, used to convey information to parents via newsletters, but for the last few years, they resorted to texting. They assigned various keywords for parents in different groups to opt-in, to ensure they’re informed, and for the staff to instantly reach them out. They collect data to help the entire family to be involved in kindergarten life. Director provides SMS check-ups on the kids to parents when they request, and, of course, sends out lockdown and reopening alerts. He is very satisfied with how texting streamlines their routine.

One of the largest grammar schools in Antrim County, Northern Ireland, had to be closed due to an adverse weather event, the Ophelia hurricane. The direction from the local government came late on Sunday, so they had to convey their contacts fast and efficiently about the closure before Monday morning. They were right to choose a mobile text alert for this purpose: of 1 500 parents only two called to school the next morning.

In Portland, State Oregon, one private Christian university earlier used email and landline calls to reach students, but due to the poor response rates, decided to switch to SMS. Across its multiple departments, it uses education SMS messages to contact prospective students (sending links for application and event forms, follow-ups, and reminders), to stay in touch with at-risk students, and for the sports players recruiting. It has also integrated its native security app with critical text notifications, which allowed faculty and staff to instantly text-alert a campus chief of security with details of a serious situation or suspicious person.

There are different kinds of teams all around any school: teachers collaborate on curriculums, students work on projects, athletes train together to win. Group texting is used for arranging team meetings and quick updates that are too brief for a voice call, but too important to delay.

Field and sightseeing trips require proper coordination and communication between trip leaders, chaperones, and parents. The organizer sends out the SMS with an itinerary while the group moves from one to the next location. This drastically reduces the chances of anyone getting lost. And in case this happens, the lost participant can in the same way alert the trip leader of being lost.

Last but not least, a short text message sent to a grown-up can be a powerful motivating factor for a child in a primary school who struggles with his or her behavior and will be happy if the progress is appreciated by the closest ones.

Digital communication tools for schools have been used more widely than ever

5 effective ways to integrate SMS texting into the learning process

As we see, there are a number of ways to implement texting into your classroom to keep everyone engaged. Let’s consider how student-teacher-parents SMS messaging can facilitate returning to class after anti-​epidemic restrictions are lifted and more.

Distributing learning materials and resources

Schools are working tirelessly to increase the opportunities available to children and teens. One of the major challenges they face is how to find worthwhile means of effectively instant communicating with the families and pupils without the overheads associated with paper letters and tutorials. Unfortunately, important emails are often unread and end up in junk. The way to go instead is sending teacher student SMS with the links to learning resources and useful content.

School administrations should keep in mind that people enter their phone numbers into the paper forms at one point, after the enrollment, and rarely remember to update it. That’s why it is necessary to perform Home Location Register Lookup (HLR SIM number) before launching bulk SMS sending to ensure all your messages are successfully delivered.

Reminders for deadlines, submissions, and meetings

Students are not very good planners; they always have some excuse for submitting homework late or for forgetting exam day. But they are capable of completing tasks ― all they need is proper guidance. Homework can be easily sent out to students each weekend with a texting tool for teachers ― for younger kids with a copy to the parent. Students feel it hard to remember due dates due to heavy workloads. All crucial locations and dates, including exams and standardized testing, are easily dispatched to those who need to know, with prompts in advance when the date is approaching.

In their hectic schedules, schoolchildren often fail to tell parents (who are busy full time) about upcoming meetings with teachers. All it takes is setting up time and date in SMS reminders that are hard to miss. This reduces the likelihood that someone forgets at the last minute. With a robust bulk texting platform in place, teachers do not need to worry about sharing their personal phone numbers, since communication is handled by the app.

Answering queries, providing support and counseling

From parents, professors, and even classmates, students experience pressure that can interfere with their education as well as well-being. Setting up a memorable hotline number can offer them attention and support. SMS can also help to reduce the amount of administration workflow and time spent responding to the most common queries for educational institutions and answering parents’ questions as students re-enter their classes.

Teachers themselves need feedback to understand whether they are meeting their objectives. They can ask how effectively they give lessons on the subject matter or even enquire which topics students are eager to learn. With text messaging for research studies, any surveys become easy to answer. However, for such cases, it is important to perform the service provider phone number lookup, in order to avoid the waste of costs for sending messages to inactive numbers and to estimate the actual messaging price based on whether each certain number has been ported or not. Students will probably enjoy responding to an SMS rather than filling out a paper form. Messages can even be sent in various languages based on where the student came from, ensuring that they are informed and feel at home.

Announcing news and events

SMS can complement printed posters and word of mouth and significantly contribute to establishing a sense of community among students. Because of its informal and conversational nature, texting as part of communication tools for schools creates a better buzz without being perceived as an advertisement. This makes them a perfect channel to remind about such upcoming special school events as disco parties, lectures by famous guest speakers, fundraisers, workshops, employment fairs, or big sports competitions. SMS is the fastest way for student bodies to disperse inhouse school news grabbing people’s attention. An expert SMS API provider allows system administrators to segment contacts in order to send specific and highly personalized messages, every time to the right recipient.

2FA to access learning platforms

Short text messaging in academic environments goes beyond the scope of text message alerts for schools, performing another crucial function ― a dual-factor authentication to online educational platforms. It is aimed to protect both the learning resource and the student’s credentials by requesting two different types of information. The application sends a 2FA code to the student, who enters the received code into the dedicated online entry form field, and thus securely logs ls for teachers into the platform.

Final thoughts

Teaching has changed in the last few years: students are more immersed in their own learning, having all functionality at their fingertips for exploration. Educators, on the other hand, can do things impossible before, such as sharing content online, arranging virtual excursions, and communicating via social networks. However, colleges and schools are still rife with routine problems, and important SMS notifications eliminate many of them. Texting is a perfect communication channel, not just for millennials, but for “digital natives” as well.

The emergency notification system for schools is vital, but fortunately, it is being mainstreamed from upstairs. SMS is quick and far-reaching ― ideal text alerts for schools; and most crucially, personal. That makes them seamlessly fit for the education establishment. Once this channel is implemented, teachers can expect increasing students’ punctuality, less procrastination, and higher attendance of events.

From the first child’s days at school, till they embark on their career, text messaging provides an opportunity for an educational institution to communicate in an effective and cost-saving manner.

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