So after taking a night off from blogging, I feel that I am ready to write a quality blog to get out to everyone. Tonight I am going to focus on how using Celly in my classroom is working out.
First, I want to comment on how my students reacted when I told them we would be using their cell phones in the classroom. The reaction was rather astonishing. Students gasped as they turned to their neighbor to ask who is this crazy guy and why is he breaking the school rule of no cell phones in the classroom. What was even more remarkable was their reaction to Celly itself. The students are loving it and they are asking about every day. Students went as far as saying that my language arts class is the best they have ever been in. I told them to hold on because the year isn’t over with yet. Right now, we only use Celly once a week in our classroom. I only use it once a week due to lack of time and the sheer, awesome, craziness it brings to my classroom. So far Celly has been a positive addition to my classroom, but there are some snags I have encountered.
First, I would like to discuss some of the positive features of Celly. One of them is I as a teacher can monitor what students are writing when they are using their cell phones. The teacher creates a “cell” and students sign up via their cell phone number. From there the students are invited to the cell and create a user name. Students are automatically assigned an avatar, but can change in their settings. From there, students can then start sending messages to the cell. Teachers can monitor what the students are writing and also post messages for students to respond to. Another positive piece to this digital tool is privacy. Other than the students punching in their cell phone numbers the one time, I never see their cell phone numbers and they don’t see mine. Furthermore, I really like how Celly allows you as a cell administrator to choose from three different cell setting from curated chat, open chat, and a restricted chat where only you as an administrator can send messages. See Celly to see how each setting works. Finally, the biggest positive I enjoy about Celly is the students wanting to write. This is why digital writing is important.
Besides the positives there have been a few learning curves I have encountered with Celly. The biggest issue I have had using Celly is the open chat feature. If you have 20 students in a classroom with cell phones and each one of them sent a next to the cell 1 time, not only am I going to receive all 20 messages, but each student will receive 19 new text message not including their own. When I started Celly I had two cells; one fore 7th grade and one for 8th grade. Well, I have around 62 7th graders in three classes and around 50 8th grade students in two classes. Yesterday when my 7th graders were done in all three classes, each student received around 130 text messages. WOW! So, I am going to create a cell for each one of my hours instead of one big cell for each grade. One other negative is what to do with the students who don’t have cell phones. I teach at a very rural school and there are students who not only don’t possess cell phones, but they don’t possess the internet or a computer at home. I put these students on our wikipage and had them respond in the discussion tab. It isn’t the same, but at least they are using a digital tool. I have had very few technical issues with Celly. I have had a few students have difficulty registering their usernames and another student who sent messages and it showed up as nothing but symbols and question marks. Each problem has been resolved. Celly has a great help cell and they were quick to respond. Also, I haven’t had any parent contact me about using it. I sent a letter home and parents seem to be supportive for now.
All in all, Celly is going really well in my classroom. Now I am going to develop some solid guidelines for my students to follow so I can assess their posts they put in the cell and create those separate cells for each class. More to come!