Last Fall we introduced Celly into the edtech world as a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) mobile communication platform. We presented a suite of communication tools:

  • group messaging with moderation
  • one-way scheduled reminders
  • polling
  • text-to-screen display
  • notetaking
  • realtime search
  • and the ability to link groups into communication networks

With students beginning a new school year, it’s a natural time to look back at the past year and answer the question,

HOW HAS CELLY BEEN IMPROVING STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES?

Celly gives people the power to simply and instantly create private social networks that work across the entire learning ecosystem.

From the nucleus of the classroom radiating outward to the school, playground, home, and community at large, Celly has enabled students, staff, parents, and community volunteers to customize virtual groups called “cells” for their organization’s unique privacy, security, and communication requirements.

Starting in the classroom where privacy between teachers and students is paramount, Celly has enabled reminder alerts, moderated Q&A study groups, and searchable message archives without the need to exchange private phone numbers:

“I created a group for each of my two classes to serve as a reminder for assignments. I also created a cell group for my club. The security settings for the club is “open” so that any member in the club can text the club. My class is a “closed” cell, meaning that I am the only one who can text the entire class. My students can text me if they have a question. The best part is they do not have my real cell number and it is a controlled environment in that Celly keeps a record of every message placed.”

Make Texting a Positive in School with Celly guest post by Melissa Seideman

Celly has also facilitated student learning within the classroom by enabling in-class discussion backchannels and text-to-screen polls.  A key outcome is that Celly has leveled the playing field for discussion resulting in greater class participation and conceptual understanding:

“The shy kids don’t like to talk during regular group discussions, but they’re really active on Celly,” says Joseph Gianotti, 38, an English teacher at Lowell High School in Lowell, Indiana, uses Celly as a discussion backchannel. For instance, students listen to To Kill a Mockingbird on tape, text their reactions, and Gianotti projects the stream of responses onto the wall for everyone to see. He finds that Celly has increased overall class participation.

Scott Brewer, 48, professor of counseling at Santa Barbara City College, a community college in California, polls students via Celly in his class on how to be successful in college. When he asked them to name the biggest challenge to doing well in school, procrastination got the most votes, so he used the next class to discuss that issue.”

Time.com:  Texting 1, 2, 3: Schools Test ‘Bring Your Own Technology’ Programs 

see video Celly for In-Class Discussion at Lowell High School

Celly’s group collaboration, notetaking, and text messaging features have also been adopted as a way of teaching Common Core Standards in the classroom:

And Celly has been used creatively in the classroom for team-building and teaching interpersonal relationship skills:

Within schools, Celly has improved student-to-student collaboration by creating linkcrew mentoring groups where students can ask upperclassmen buddies for help ranging from class selection, study habits, and social advice. 

Celly has also improved two-way school-wide communication by enabling school administrators to solicit feedback with tiplines allowing students to send anonymous text messages related to safety issues or suggestions. In addition, Celly has enabled school principals, district CIOs, and university IT departments to broadcast school-wide alerts and to automatically curate school-relevant content from web and twitter feeds:

The Tried And True Trio Of Tools To Get Going With Cellphones For Learning by Lisa Nielsen and Willyn Webb

Celly and the art of communication

Celly has improved student learning outcomes by creating a safer learning environment that prevents cyberbullying, impersonation, and oversharing. We collaborated directly with teachers, students, parents, and education technology experts to design a service with curation that can manage large groups of people yet keep conversations streamlined, safe, and on-topic. Statistically, Celly groups are large: half of Celly users belong to at least one cell with over 50 people. About 60% of cells are in curated mode which indicates how Celly enables safe, moderated, large group discussion:

Moving beyond schools walls, Celly has improved communication between students, teachers, band leaders, and coaches on the playing field and on field trips. Student athletes and coaches have used Celly to coordinate games and practices:

“I sponsor the 8th grade trip at GCMS every year.  We always have issues with communication even though everyone has cell phones.  My sister (Scott Co, Northern Elementary) introduced me to Celly the morning we departed for our trip. I announced the number and message over the pa system of the buses and let’s just say it was AMAZING from that point.  We never had anyone late for departures. I sent out messages of compliments from museums, reminders each night for breakfast and departure from hotel.  I have passed CELLY on to the Chorus trip sponsor who also had great success with the services benefits. I will most definitely share CELLY with as many people as I possibly can that are coaches, trip sponsors, my administration, etc… Thank you for this service!!!”

Kelli Lee, Science and Social Studies, 8th grade Trip Sponsor

At home, Celly has improved learning outcomes by improving parent engagement and awareness of teacher/student activity:

Finally, Celly has provided communities and school districts with a means for promoting events, collecting issue inventories, and fundraising. Schools/districts can create Public Service Announcements and call-to-actions to raise money for school projects and causes:

Looking forward into the new school year, our hope is that Celly continues to spread as a platform for improving student learning outcomes both inside and outside school walls. We are improving device access to our platform with the introduction of our first smartphone app—Celly for Android will be released in a couple weeks…with iPhone coming very soon too.

Education is a message that can be communicated 140 characters at a time. Not only do we hope Celly continues to augment student learning, but we hope Celly spreads as a way to create tight-knit learning networks between students, parents, and staff that unite communities at large. Please send us your feedback and ideas.

Very sincerely,

Team Celly, team@cel.ly

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