Five Uses for an SMS Service in Schools

If you’ve ever watched a sporting event, reality show, or TV newscast you’ve probably seen a group SMS campaign. Text messaging can be useful for everything from voting for your favorite celebrity dancer to helping victims of a disaster. And if you’re a teacher, administrator, or even an involved parent who wants to use this technology to get control of a hectic school environment, we have a few suggestions on how to do just that.

The first thing to do is choose the best SMS platform for you. Each one offers their own unique set of features and benefits but the essentials are the same: the ability to organize groups of opt-in SMS recipients and distribute text messages across those groups.

One thing to remember: SMS’s distributed among a group will count as a separate text message for each recipient in your group. So consider how many different groups and group members you will have, and how often you expect to message them. The best web-based SMS solutions will have pricing options to suit almost any need, will allow you to start small and expand as needed, and will offer a full-featured free trial.

So what are the best uses for a group SMS service in schools?

1. Emergency Weather Alerts
No longer rely on local news and radio to report when your school is closing due to bad weather. A simple text message is enough to alert parents of school closings as soon as the decision is made, giving them ample time to figure out what to do with their children.

2. Teaching Away From Class
The workload for high school students gets more complicated every year. Consider using group SMS to reinforce lessons from that day and to offer homework tips for that night’s assignments. Also, if there is something you forgot to mention during class or if you just want to remind students to bring something to class the next day, a quick text message to their parents should get the job done.

3. Workplace Communication
Group SMS isn’t just for teachers to coordinate with students. Faculty needs to organize and communicate with each other as well. Set meetings, synchronize lesson plans, and organize committees using just your mobile phone and a group SMS service.

4. After-School Sports
Whether you are a coach or a team parent, you know how taxing the fun of school sports can be. Between road trips, practices, and schoolwork, the conventional pen-and-paper-calendar method of organization can soon become more confusing than helpful. Text reminders of road games and canceled practices can be a great time saver for the kids and a load off the minds of adults.

5. Safety
In an environment where students can outnumber staff 30-1, it can be difficult to ensure the most secure school experience. But if you give students a confidential, anonymous way to report harmful behavior (bullying, drugs, weapons, etc.) you will also give them an opportunity to change their environment for the better.

Many group SMS platforms let you set up keywords to alert you of events from people both inside and outside your current groups. For example, a school can promote the text keyword “BULLYING” to allow students a quick, easy, and above all confidential way to report bullying incidents. It will ultimately be up to the administrators to decide how to handle reports, but one cannot undervalue the sense of empowerment threatened or at-risk students will feel from a simple SMS service.

For a very small investment of time and money, you can organize, inform, and protect your school in ways past generations couldn’t even imagine.  So save your reality show voting for another day. Start being more productive with SMS today.

Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan writes about Marketing for TextMarks--The industry leading SMS Marking & Communications platform.

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