Over the last few months, there has been increased interest in using text-messaging at school. Although many schools do still have strict policies that forbid using cell phones in class, more are exploring ways to use text-messaging as a communication tool to bridge home and school.
There's also been an explosion in new tech start-ups that offer services for just this purpose. They're taking advantage of students' and families' access to cell phones, but more importantly perhaps, they're tapping into the popularity of text-messaging among teens. They're also working to make sure that the SMS communication is safe, that both student and teacher privacy is protected, and that records are kept so that any inappropriate behavior can be identified. Some of these startups include Remind 101, Cel.ly, and Snapp School. (You can read more about Cel.ly here.)
Interesting, at some of the most recent Startup Weekend EDUs -- an event that brings together educators, engineers, and entrepreneurs to launch education startups over the course of a weekend -- winning teams have built text-messaging apps: ClassParrot was the winner of the recent Mega Startup Weekend in Mountain View, and Text2Teach won first prize at Seattle's Startup Weekend.
It's an indication that text-messaging is becoming recognized as a powerful tool that schools should find a way to use. It's one that can keep students engaged in class (though that idea remains fairly controversial, as cell phones are still viewed by many as a distraction). And it's one that can help bridge the communication gulf between home and school.
But just as text-messaging may be on the cusp of widespread adoption in schools, there are rumblings in other sectors that text-messaging is dead. Or more accurately, perhaps, that text-messaging should simply die.