SMS (Text Message) Notifications for my band students!

UPDATE – After taking Joe PIsano’s great advice, I checked out TextMarks a little more closely.  I could not find any specific information on their site regarding the ads they send with their messages, but I have realized that the ramifications of these ads going to students may not be good.  So, at this point, I have put this project on hold, and am continuing to search for a service that will do this for free with no ads at all.  If anyone can point me in the right direction, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I think this could be a really powerful communication tool!

After attending the PMEA Summer Conference this year, I starting thinking a lot more about how I could integrate technology into my band program.  More specifically even, I started thinking about how I could use technology on my students’ level.  It is clear to me that many students use text messaging as an important method of communication.  So, I started wondering if there was a way for students to subscribe to a band text message alert service for my program.

After many hours of searching the net, and failed attempts to use many different services, I finally found what I’m looking for in TextMarks.  This service allows the students to text the word “sharonband” to a specific number, and then they can receive any alerts that I post as the manager.  This service also gives me the ability to either allow or disallow the subscribers to send a message to all other members of the group.  I have disabled this feature, as I only want students to be able to receive messages.

As far as posting messages to the subscribers, I can either do this from my mobile device or from the web.  This service allows me to use 120 of the 160 text characters, as I believe the rest are reserved for short advertisements. (That’s how they keep it free.)

This is very exciting to me.  I notice how much students use text messaging, and I think it is just another great way that we can “meet students on their level” and keep them informed of the important information that we need to pass on to them.

I can foresee this being useful to any teacher that wants the ability to reach out to their students “outside of the school walls.”

Check it out, and let me know if you would consider using this with your students!  I can’t wait to get this going with my students and report back later on how it is working!