SMS doesna��t need to be limited to administrative tasks. It is being used by some teachers to motivate students to continue their studies out of the classroom and is having a positive effect on student retention.

While some of the uses described here can still be classed as administrative they did have a positive affect on studentsa�� study habits. SMS was used to communicate with students to:

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  • deliver homework tasks
  • send maths questions a�� students text back their answers
  • send presentation date & time reminders
  • send assessment due date reminders

 

Some of the issues that students faced included:

  • they were out of phone credit and couldna��t respond immediately
  • phones were sometimes out of range or had weak signal strength so messages came through to different students at different times
  • some students were not comfortable with texting
  • some students didna��t want the lecturer to have their phone number

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Students with privacy concerns, access issues or who were not comfortable texting were able to email their responses to their teacher instead.

The trial was conducted in two forms. One method involved using SMS technology within the classroom. The other involved texting the students outside of the classroom a�� once or twice per week. Students didna��t like in class texting as much as out of class texting.

 

In the classroom:

 

Out of the classroom:

  • students liked the contact
  • some looked forward to receiving the texts

Overall students reacted positively to being sent school related text messages a couple of times a week. They said it felt it helped them stay on task and also helped them to feel part of a community. Teaching staff noticed a marked improvement in student retention because students who received text messages felt they had been able to still contribute when they were absent from school. Teachers could send messages to absent students encouraging them to return to class, so they were less likely to feel like they were too far behind to return.