Effective communication is key in the educational environment.   In the past we have shared similar resources, but we always strive to take stakeholder communication to a new level.  That is where Celly comes into play.  Celly is basically a social media network for communication that not only allows you as a teacher to send direct messages to your students and parents as a group, but it can diversify how that is done.   The messages can be sent via text (sms), email, or on the web.  Celly is available as a web based interface, and also has Android and IOS apps.   Using Celly a teacher can create a “cell” of users and invite people to that cell.  You can limit the discussion to a one way communication from you to your stakeholders, or you can open it up to a forum-type of discussion board, the decision is yours.  Share images, videos, links, files and more… As with many web tools, most features are free, but they do hold some premium features back for paid accounts.  With a monthly paid Celly for Leaders account you can also use it for informal polls of your class or parents.

How to Get Started

You can sign up for Celly on the web, it is free for the basic account and easy to do.   Start by going to cel.ly on the web and create an account using email, Facebook, Twitter or your Google account.  Once in Celly, you will want to create a cell and invite members to it.  When you create the cell you can change the settings so to limit or open the type of communication you want in the cell.  The following videos go over getting an account set up, starting a cell (with settings), and inviting others to be members of your cell.

Suggested Uses

  • send a daily reminder of what to expect in class
  • recap classroom experiences
  • homework and assessment reminders
  • poll the class for extention activities
  • exit tickets
  • asnwer student questions outside of class
  • sharing files with the class
  • Flipped classroom video link curation
  • ???

Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)

An effective communication system in the classroom leads to a Respectful Culture (essential competency 3.4) by communicating in a way that is professional, positive, and inclusive of all students.   By regularly sharing information about the classroom to families, responding promptly to contact from parents, and developing activities designed to engage families successfully, Celly can help you provide a venue for Stakeholder Engagement and Communication (competency 4.4).

Additional Resources

Celly is not the first communication resource we have shared on the 30 Day Challenge over the last few years and it’s not exactly new, but it does have useful new features that fill a gap in other text based communication systems.  Additional similar resources for text communication include Remind (formerly Remind101), ClassPager, and KikuText.

All of these resources allow one-way communication via text with annonymous phone numbers so that the teacher doesn’t know the student / parent numbers and vice versa.  Traditional social media networks like Facebook also provide the additional social aspects in Celly, but at the cost of a more open network (which is not necessarily bad, but it is different).  LMS solutions like My Big Campus and Edmodo also provide the communication and social media options, but come at a cost of more difficult setup for all stakeholders,… namely parents.

Your Challenge

Your first challenge is to look at the options in a communication tool like Celly and reflect on how you could use this resource to enhance communication with the stakeholders in your classes / school.  Share those reflections in the comments below and if you have another great communication tool please feel free to add it to your comments as well.   Commenting on others responses is a great way to share ideas and make educational connections, just remember that “active participation” is more than just an “attaboy” for someone else.  Enjoy!

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  1. I like the direct communication offered by Remind101 and Cel.ly. My Weebly websites include weekly and long term calendars and “To Do” lists for my students, but they have to take the initiative to check the Weebly site. With Remind101 and Cel.ly, I can connect with students directly – given that they have signed up for the service. I experienced the same low return as others have mentioned and am thinking of strategies I can use to increase my sign-up rate.

  2. Celly looks like it will work great for older students. I teach in an elementary school and think that it will be an effective form of communication with the students’ parents. The intro and tutorial videos were easy to follow, which makes me less apprehensive about trying new technology.

    • In an elementary setting, I agree that you would be targeting communication to the parents. This is just an additional way to get your message out. Digital newsletters are also common in many elementary schools. It’s all about making the communication acccessible to your stakeholders. Thanks for the comment!

  3. After watching the introduction video, I was interested in Celly and opened an account. The first thing I noticed is how cluttered the interface is. It combines aspects of Facebook, Twitter, Remind, and SurveyMonkey. I actively use Facebook, Twitter and Remind in my classroom and have had success using these communication tools. However, I was quite interested in the polling aspect of Celly. I tried to make a poll and was prompted to a 30 day free trial in order to test the polling function only to find that in order to get a free trial, you must first purchase a “Celly for Leaders” subscription. I don’t believe that it is necessary to purchase a subscription for the polling feature when there are so many survey sites you can use for free (SurveyMonkey, Google Forms survey function, etc.). Although it might be nice to have all of these communication tools combined, right now my favorite communication tools are Facebook, Twitter and Remind.

  4. I have played with Celly a little and have thought about using it with my classes. I presently use Remind and have a Facebook page for parents to like, but I am thinking that I may use Celly next year instead. Communicating with parents is an area that I am working to improve upon. I am thinking about using Celly as a hub for communication for a robotics team.

  5. I love using Remind (AKA Remind 101) to notify parents of upcoming tests, material that will be on the tests, reminders about daily school activities that are happening, sports reminders, etc. I like the fact that Celly has the question option for students or parents to ask still without knowing your number. I love the idea of polls and videos being able to be used by both parties. The collaboration piece of communication for teachers, students, and parents alike is awesome! I use many exit tickets and quick responses with my class so this lends itself to this as well. Does anyone know if there is a limit on characters that you can enter? Thanks

  6. The problem I have had with Remind is the fact I couldn’t get everyone I wanted to sign up to register. I only had a few good students and their parents sign up. The ones who could really benefit from the use of this program are either too lazy to sign up or never got the information home to begin with. I need a way to force all my students to have this on their devices.

    • Buy in can be difficult for any classroom. Remind and Celly work the same in that they need the student/parent to take action on their end. But with that in mind, even if you could push the communication out, it still does not guarantee that they would take notice of it.. It is all a question of the value they place in the communication. The more value, the more likely they are to look. We always suggest multiple ways to communicate the information (ex: email, Remind / Celly, Facebook, Twitter,.. etc.) that way you are more likely to reach your audience.

    • This is the same thought I am having. I am not sure how I can get the parents I “need” to communication with to sign up.

  7. Programs like Celly and Remind work great with high school students because it gets them whee they live, inside the phones!!. I have used Remind but like some of the features that Celly has and may be doing a switch. I have seen an up-tick in quiz scores since I started using Remind and am getting a lot less groaning because they forgot we were having a quiz.

  8. I use Remind (Remind101) and my high school students love it. I have invited all of the parents to sign up as well as the students. The parents like the “dates to know” that I send out before something big is due. Students like the quick reminder to bring textbooks, specific supply or packet to class. They too comment on liking the dates to know, and don’t mind parents reminding them from their remind note. I think for this quick communication to be effective for high schoolers; it should be brief (text) and not have added attachments. And, it shouldn’t be daily. I try to limit it to two times per unit of study.

    • I agree Leah, short and to the point is best and not too frequent or they start ignoring them. I want them to think “oh, this is from Mrs. K it must be important” any time they see a ext from me.

  9. Wow! I know a lot of teachers and coaches who use Remind but feel it falls a few features short of what is truly needed for communicating with students and parents. Celly appears to give those teachers/coaches what they need. I also really like the fact that it integrates with Google Drive and Twitter. I think kids would like the themes and avatars.

    • Wow is right! While I like Remind as safe and effective communication from teachers to students/parents, it doesn’t allow students to text back with questions. Celly has great options to encourage students to ask questions. It also looks like it can be used for sending questions during a presentation, much like a back channel on Twitter.

    • I completely agree! I use Remind frequently for my classes and have enjoyed using it, but also feel it falls short, specifically regarding two-way communication. I really like the idea of switching to this instead!

  10. I really love that more and more teachers are using tools like Celly to communicate with parents and students. My daughter’s teacher regularly uses Remind to send us updates about what is going on that day in class. I also like that she uses several different ways to communicate information, including Facebook, Weebly, Twitter, and Remind. In this connected world, we need to reach parents where they are, and as our student’s parents get younger, reaching them through social media and text is becoming the most effective way to get messages home.

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