My name is Joaquín Peña Medina and I’m from Albacete, a town in the Mid East of Spain. It was not until my elder sister took her degree that my parents could afford helping me out with mine. Now, in my early forties, plentiful are the memories of my prime I can recall, but one thing is for sure, those were definitely tough times. I’m a happily married man now, no children. My wife and I are secondary state teachers, full time vocationally devoted to our students.

Tell us about yourself! 

Being a teacher just runs in the family. Some of my uncles and aunts were primary teachers themselves. They encouraged me to take the plunge and talked me into sitting a competitive exam, which is mandatory before you become a state teacher, here in Spain. Since then, I’ve been teaching for sixteen years now, growing old and grey, none too sure whether wiser or not. Today, I’ve witnessed one of those magic moments, that moment when you see in a pupil’s eyes they’re grasping what you’re trying to teach. That’s what triggers my desire to become a better person, and hence, a better teacher.

Tell us about your classroom!

The prominence of smartphones in our lives is self-obvious. The stakes of my pupils and their parents being glued to their devices are a too-good chance for me to miss. Unfortunately, only half of them enjoy a 3G/4G connection, but most of them do have wifi access at home. Curiously, most parents have a smartphone which they don’t know how to use. I’m currently designing a poll in order to have a better idea of the current situation. Depending on the figures, I would be happy to instruct parents to make the most of that ‘spaceship’ they handle every day. Bear in mind that here in Spain,  we are charged for local calls, and sms.

Our school rules do not allow our pupils to sport their expensive devices in the classroom, but little by little, the perks of smart devices are dawning on my colleges.  Now, our students are allowed to used their gear provided that they are supervised by a teacher. These are times of change, and I’m convinced it will not be long until smartphones are part and parcel in our daily routine. By the way, I teach English as a second language. (I feel a bit rusty, as a matter of fact) My pupils are twelve to sixteen. We’re such a small school that we have no A levels (They commute to a bigger town nearby)

How do you use Celly in your classroom?

I use Celly with a twofold purpose in mind. Firstly, as a homework reminder for both my pupils and their parents. Parents do play an important role when it comes to making their children, my pupils, stay on task. Parents with full knowledge of what is going on in my classroom makes my job easier. This deters my pupils from avoiding their tasks and misbehaving. It just works. Secondly, I use Celly to inform parents effectively. When I pick up the phone, I do not know how long it is going to take me to transmit a simple piece of information. Sometimes, a call may last for just too long. How many “cellies” can I send during that time? As many as I need, that simple. One feature which makes Celly to stand out is its push notifications. Other apps do not have this feature, so they do not work for me, period.

How has Celly changed your classroom? Were there any unexpected benefits or fun surprises?

Efficiency, efficiency and efficiency:

  1. Who does not hear a whatsapp alert? Now, I have that power.
  2. I can send the whole burden of notifications before going back home. This is not possible through the telephone.
  3. Students are more motivated, and parents are just amazed at how simple it is for them to be informed.

Unfortunately, most parents are not using Celly right now. However, I would be happy if all smartphone users eventually used Celly. That would be a great start

What other emerging methods or tools are you using that have made a big impact in your classroom?

None, I’ve ruled them all out. However, these methods have sprung up just so recently that they will naturally improve. Right now, some apps have no Android version, others have no push notifications, others are based on sms notifications, which just fine for the US, but the world has become flat.

Thanks Joaquin!

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