Effective communication is key in the educational environment. In the past we have shared similar resources, but we always strive to take stakeholder communication to a new level. That is where Celly comes into play. Celly is basically a social media network for communication that not only allows you as a teacher to send direct messages to your students and parents as a group, but it can diversify how that is done. The messages can be sent via text (sms), email, or on the web. Celly is available as a web based interface, and also has Android and IOS apps. Using Celly a teacher can create a “cell” of users and invite people to that cell. You can limit the discussion to a one way communication from you to your stakeholders, or you can open it up to a forum-type of discussion board, the decision is yours. Share images, videos, links, files and more… As with many web tools, most features are free, but they do hold some premium features back for paid accounts. With a monthly paid Celly for Leaders account you can also use it for informal polls of your class or parents.
How to Get Started
You can sign up for Celly on the web, it is free for the basic account and easy to do. Start by going to cel.ly on the web and create an account using email, Facebook, Twitter or your Google account. Once in Celly, you will want to create a cell and invite members to it. When you create the cell you can change the settings so to limit or open the type of communication you want in the cell. The following videos go over getting an account set up, starting a cell (with settings), and inviting others to be members of your cell.
- send a daily reminder of what to expect in class
- recap classroom experiences
- homework and assessment reminders
- poll the class for extention activities
- exit tickets
- asnwer student questions outside of class
- sharing files with the class
- Flipped classroom video link curation
Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)
An effective communication system in the classroom leads to a Respectful Culture (essential competency 3.4) by communicating in a way that is professional, positive, and inclusive of all students. By regularly sharing information about the classroom to families, responding promptly to contact from parents, and developing activities designed to engage families successfully, Celly can help you provide a venue for Stakeholder Engagement and Communication (competency 4.4).
Celly is not the first communication resource we have shared on the 30 Day Challenge over the last few years and it’s not exactly new, but it does have useful new features that fill a gap in other text based communication systems. Additional similar resources for text communication include Remind (formerly Remind101), ClassPager, and KikuText.
All of these resources allow one-way communication via text with annonymous phone numbers so that the teacher doesn’t know the student / parent numbers and vice versa. Traditional social media networks like Facebook also provide the additional social aspects in Celly, but at the cost of a more open network (which is not necessarily bad, but it is different). LMS solutions like My Big Campus and Edmodo also provide the communication and social media options, but come at a cost of more difficult setup for all stakeholders,… namely parents.
Your first challenge is to look at the options in a communication tool like Celly and reflect on how you could use this resource to enhance communication with the stakeholders in your classes / school. Share those reflections in the comments below and if you have another great communication tool please feel free to add it to your comments as well. Commenting on others responses is a great way to share ideas and make educational connections, just remember that “active participation” is more than just an “attaboy” for someone else. Enjoy!
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