Engaging Learners Through Text Messages?

October 16, 2013 15:23 by Dana Peters

We have a new principal at my daughter’s high school. As you can imagine, change is in the air. One initiative has caught my attention: the principal directly communicating via text with the entire high school community. This has engaged me with the high school at a new level. When something engages me personally, I think about how it might be applied to the learning and development space.

Here’s the story.

Around mid-August, I received a simple email inviting me to sign up to receive the principal’s high school community text messages. Using a mass text program, the principal was going to be interacting with the high school community as a whole (students, teachers, and parents).

I liked this idea because: 1) I wanted to get a feel for this new principal from a distance and 2) I didn’t have to work very hard to do it. (I am busy, not lazy). I signed up and my daughter did too.

Almost immediately the messages started dribbling in, one or two a day. Sometimes it’s just a link to the daily announcements or a reminder about a big upcoming event. Other times, to recognize a student interest club’s accomplishment or just a random thought or observation the principal thought worthy of sharing.

As the receiver, here is what I like about this means of communication:

  • Important information is coming to me instantly and to a place where I am (so to speak).  I don’t know about you, but text messages are front and center on my communications radar. I see them before I read an email or listen to a voice mail.
  • It’s brief and to the point. One sentence tells me what I need to know. The provided link is there to dive deeper if I want to.  Sometime I click on the link for more information, sometimes I don’t. This level of brevity also makes it very easy to search for a specific message or nugget of information at a later time. 
  • The tone of the messages has a very personal touch.

As a result, I feel more in tune and more connected to what is happening at school and with the high school community as a whole. I also have a better sense for the principal and his approach to leading the school.

So what if we applied this to the learning environment?

  1. Our learners could receive timely information quickly, in a place they are already paying attention to (where they already are), their text messages.
  2. One sentence communicates the high level message. A link is provided if they want/need more detail and is easily retrieved later, when needed.
  3. Messages could be targeted to the right people. We would want to keep it relevant, casual, and give it a personal touch.

Would our learners feel more in tune and connected?

Have you used technology in this way? I would love to hear your stories, please comment and share below.

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eLearning | Learning | Learning Trends

Comments (1) -

Nick Vacalo
Nick Vacalo United States
4/24/2016 8:33:44 AM #

Great site. Have bookmarked it. Thanks Smile


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