Do you receive any text alerts that come into your cell phone from time to time? Currently, I receive them from a local TV station telling me when my school is closed, and also from ESPN when my favorite sports teams have won or lost. As more people become comfortable with cell phone use, SMS text subscriptions could be a valuable tool for schools as another way of communicating out to families. Also, why not bag that lengthy Emergency Phone Chain and get your teachers on a text alert?
I was looking around online this morning and found a good amount of text alerts set up exclusively for schools, most ranging from $20-$250 per month depending on the usage. Those I found right away included Mobilizeus, School’s Out and School Messenger. Broadtexter.com is a free service, but was designed mainly for bands trying to get the word out on their next gig.
Remind101 offers a FREE SMS service where you can connect with those who have subscribed to your text alerts. Here is a short video on the features it provides.
With their free service, you can:
- Create a Remind101 page for your organization, school PTA group, or class.
- Allow those in your community to subscribe to your group. They even provide you with clear printable instructions to hand out.
- Schedule text alerts in advance
- Send alerts from a computer or mobile device
- See a full list of who have subscribed to your texts.
- Create multiple text audiences for various needs.
It’s interesting to think about how this tool could compliment the communication strategies employed at your organization. Bringing important news and updates to families and staff via cellphone might now be an option in these unprecedented economic times when choosing what will be cut from your school budget.
As we continue to look for ways to differentiate our family engagement efforts, I’d be interested in hearing if/how your school or organization uses mobile alerts. Please share in the comments below or via email or Twitter at @Joe_Mazza.