Mobile Future

Text Messages Making the Grade for Schools

The days of cutting class and burying bad tests at the bottom of the backpack may be over for many students in the Houston area. An article in the Houston Chronicle reports that schools are using technology to better inform parents about their children’s education:

The majority of area school districts – Houston and Klein joined the ranks last month – now allow parents real-time online access to their children’s grades, assignments and attendance reports. Parents can set up triggers that send e-mails or texts at the first sign of trouble.

For many parents these updates have become an invaluable tool: allowing them to stay updated on their children’s education, while opening new lines of communication between parents, students and teachers. Parents are not only able to stay informed of how their children are doing, but also what they are learning – making those dinnertime "what did you learn in school today" conversations a little more productive.

Schools in Texas aren’t the only ones to take advantage of wireless technology. Earlier this month a principal in Algonquin, Ill. gave his cell phone number to all 2,500 students at Jacobs High School during the morning announcements.

In his announcement, the principal asked all students and staff to text-message him anytime day or night with safety-related concerns or to report a school disruption. Some of those things could include knowledge of students with drugs, alcohol or weapons; gang-related activity; or a planned student fight on school property.

In a school where 90 percent of students send text messages, Principal Michael Bregy says the idea has helped foster a safe learning environment and let him connect with students in a way that they feel comfortable with.

Many schools and universities throughout the nation also use text messages as a way of informing students and parents of emergencies and cancellations. Texts have been used to inform parents of cancellations because of inclement weather and to give students real-time instructions in potential emergency situations.

Such messages are not only a convenience and a better way of staying informed, but also an example of how mobile technology has become a vital means of keeping students safe and improving education.

It’s great to see so many schools using wireless technology to benefit students. We’re excited to see what kind of innovative ideas educators will come up with next.