What is mobile messaging?

If you are at the point of asking what a mobile messaging platform is then I know you aren’t being as productive or efficient as you should be for a teacher in these current times. I suggest that you begin using some type of social messaging system to communicate!

According to wikipedia, mobile messaging apps (a.k.a. “Social messaging” or “chat applications”) are apps and platforms that enable instant messaging.  I feel that this is a great way to stay in contact with parents while keeping excellent records with ease. How often are we asked to be sure we are staying in contact with parents. Have you ever been asked if you have reached out to parents about something positive? If so, were you thinking “when do they expect me to have time to reach out about something positive when I don’t have time to do all the other things that come ahead of that.”

Maybe you aren’t an educator. Maybe you are a leader in your school or business.  Either way, I recommend using mobile messaging apps to keep stakeholders involved and in the know with little effort or time.  This is a tool that everyone in education should have in their bag of tricks.  I cover more about what you should have in your bag of tricks in our article titled 10 Technology Skills Every Educator Needs To Survive.

Why you should use social messaging and which application is right for you?

As an educator myself, I know that time is one of the most precious commodities that we have. With more and more to do these days, how are we supposed to fit it all in? Well, you start by working efficiently. Use technology when and where it matters most.  It is a tool that can make your life much easier and streamline your duties. This means more time. I am going to cover a few of the most effective and easiest to use mobile messaging tools in order to help you decide which will work best for you.

Please note that I have not placed these in any particular ranking order based on which is better or worse. They are all great applications. This is simply an excellent resource list for you to use for getting in touch with what is available in this space and to decide which one will work best for your needs.

  1. Remind
  2. ClassDojo
  3. Classtag
  4. Classting
  5. Bloomz

1. Remind: This application works for K-12

Remind has been around for quite some time.  In my opinion, Remind is a great app and is highly versatile in its use. It can be used in an organization for many different forms of communication, for many years.  It can be used to communicate with parents, students, stakeholders, or between staff members. I have even used this application in a professional  organization that I’m a member of to keep members informed.

Features include:

  • Privacy protection of phone numbers, as they are never seen
  • Messages can be pre-scheduled, which is an excellent time saver.
  • All you need is an email address to connect to and internet access.
  • Send and receive unlimited messages
  • share photos, hangouts, and documents, etc.

This communication app offers a translation option that allows you to translate messages into more than 85 different languages, which is great for Title I and heavy ESL schools.This app is 100% free and very reliable. There is a premium version if you find yourself needing longer text options.

2. Class Dojo: Mobile messaging application best for K -5

ClassDojo is another great communication tool that is also 100% free. This application is used heavily in the elementary school settings where parents are still very needy and hands on with students. It makes a great platform for keeping in touch with parents, managing classroom behaviors, and building that classroom community that Title schools love to have documentation for.

Features include:

  • messaging can be translated into more than 35 languages making it a wonderful tool if you have a large ESL population.
  • It also allows for uploading photos and videos – great for showcasing student work.

I love the features!  They allow the teacher to document communication with parents. Students like to get involved by creating their own character/avatar.  It is easy to use for teachers, parents, and students alike.

3. Classtag: This application is suited for K-12

Classtag is another free communication platform for schools designed to boost parental engagement.  To me, this program is very similar to Remind and ClassDojo.

Features include:

  • You can choose to send individual messages or messages to the entire class.
  • Private communication without disclosing personal information, such as phone numbers.
  • It allows for photo and video sharing.
  • Translate messages into other languages for ESL and stakeholder purposes.
  • Calendar features
  • Sign up lists
  • Newsletters
  • Donations

This system offers significantly more features than the others. ClassTag says they are “like your virtual classroom assistant, helping you win back time .” We all know that time is precious and this application saves a lot of it and IT”S FREE! Me and the word FREE are best friends, as is true throughout the education industry!

4. Classting: Social messaging application suitable for K-12

Classting is a free social media platform similar to Remind.  I have had very limited exposure to using this application.  However, it comes highly recommended by many sources and I was impressed upon demoing it.  Just as the others we have discussed, it helps connect teachers with students and parents, classmates with each other (great feature), anytime, anywhere.  This one offers some exciting additional features that one like Remind do not.

Features include:

  • It lets you create your personal classroom community just by generating an invitation code or URL with a single click.
  • All the personal information is kept private and each class member is protected.
  • Deliver announcements
  • Send and receive unlimited messages, media files, and documentation.

This makes a great tool for teachers, leaders, and stakeholders alike. It keeps communication simple, streamlined, and FREE!  Although the app is recommended for K-12, I feel that this app is best utilized in grades 6-12 due to the collaboration features, which make it a bit unique from the others we have discussed.

5. Bloomz: Mobile messaging application for K-12 & administration!

Bloomz is once again a FREE application. It is available in a mobile and web version. I have not personally used this app but it gets excellent reviews and came up repeatedly during my research on this topic.

Features include:

  • Calendar features such as, scheduling classroom volunteers, and parent-teacher conferences
  • Text communication and sharing pictures.

This application is comparable to Classtag.  I love the administrative integration features in this app.

Why Use and How to Choose a Social Messaging Platform?

All of the options that I covered here offer free versions. Mobile messaging apps put an end to lost flyers and endless back-and-forth with parents. You’ll always have a clear, transparent record of your communication with all stakeholders without having to compromise your time or your privacy. If you aren’t currently using a mobile messaging platform for parent or stakeholder communication then you are working harder and not smarter. Make technology work for you.

I am a huge advocate for technology, when it is the right fit.  I always say, “using technology just to use it isn’t productive.  Technology needs to be used intentionally for it to be productive.”  Choose the mobile messaging application that works best for you and situation.  I suggest that you set down with your leadership team and decide which features are most important prior to looking at each application.  Having a clear picture of what you are looking for will make your selection process much easier.

Mobile messaging is not something that any industry should be without. It makes life more effective and more efficient, and who doesn’t need that in their business!