I received the latest copy of “Interval” the Journal of the Minnesota Music Educators Association, and was pleased to find one of the articles I submitted on Tech Tips as a featured article. I didn’t know it was being printed, and I don’t know if the other article appeared in an earlier publication. This particular article (“Tech Tips for Music Ed: Cell Phones in School: From the Devil Himself or From Angels?”) was about the use of cell phones in music education. If anyone has found this blog as a result of that article (the blog address is listed), welcome!
It’s been a while since I penned that article, and I would add a few more thoughts.
First, if you don’t get “Interval,” and many readers of this blog are out of state, I suggested two free resources:
Second, TxtBlaster hasn’t had a lot of “motion” for the last year. The website is still active, but there has been no significant change in the service, no blog posts, and no tweets. That makes me slightly cautious about the service. I had a few parents last year who were worried about student names and phone numbers being sold by the company (not that any problems occurred, just general concern), and when I contacted TxtBlaster about that concern, they e-mailed and let me know that they did not sell either of those items.
I am no longer using TxtBlaster because Twitter has its own texting component. If you have a Twitter account, any person with a cell phone can sign up to get tweets from that account via texting. So I send out tweets, usually scheduled in advance using HootSuite (the iPhone App is great), and students receive those tweets as text messages. You can see the instructions on how to sign up below and replicate that with your own program Twitter account and have your students sign up. Just make sure that you don’t abuse the Twitter stream, and that students that sign up have texting plans.
For announcements and reminders, Twitter is perfect. If you can’t say it in less than 140 characters, chances are that your students and parents won’t read what you write anyway. And with either service…TxtBlaster or Twitter…your cell phone number is confidential.
Finally, I’ve jumped off the “cell phones will become personal computers” bandwagon. I’ve been persuaded by the argument of Frasier Speirs, who talks about the fallacies of “Run What Ya Brung.” Still, I believe in tapping into the aspects of cell phones (I would estimate than nearly 100% of my high school students have them–and most of the students in my stepson’s 5th grade class do, too–all with texting plans) such as Poll Everywhere, TxtBlaster, and Twitter.