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Hi Joe, I know you're still on Skype but it's too late to start another conversation!

We used text messaging extensively in two projects we ran in the past couple of years. The first of these was our Japanese after-school class. We used text messaging for two main purposes: 1, to organise the class involving kids from about 12 different schools to get them together in the one school for the class, and 2. to challenge them to text their answers to a quiz in class. We set up text messages to be sent out at a particular time within the lesson. It was all planned so that they'd receive their text message during the lesson and they'd all dive for their phones, and first to answer the text (which posted automatically onto a website) won a prize.

I know... "diving for their phones" is probably some teachers' ideas of a nightmare, but this was in carefully controlled circumstances!

Our other project was the Verbcast. You'll probably know the podcast. This was linked to daily text messages which were sent in the morning to remind kids what they'd learned the night before. The whole project lasted 4 weeks and the kids got a podcast a day and a couple of text messages to which they replied, again, posting to the website.

Just thought on something else: we've been using texting in voting systems. Our Film Festival vote last year was done by text messages: easier and MUCH cheaper than Qwizdom or Promethean setups. We needed around 350 voting handsets and were being quoted silly prices for those kind of systems. The kids all had their mobile phones there so we set up a text vote à la X Factor / Big Brother etc. and the kids voted by texting "FILM 01" to 81025 or something like that. It was all good fun and had that cool factor too.

The main link for all of this was - they offer discounts for education customers too. Do mention my name though... ;)

Thanks for this, Joe. It's one I had missed - until now! We've got some mobile things (basic stuff) going on at Communicate.07. It's a tool that can be used in a 'standalone' way as well as in a connected way like at Athabasca, yet we tend to jump straight into the things that cost (texting etc etc).

I'm working with many others on getting about 63,000 handheld devices to kids in the East of Scotland - it's a tricky one to bring to fruition but here's hoping... The educational benefits are not, funnily enough, all that clear at first and we have to be sure that mobile devices offer the same or more than laptops in a 'classroom in the box' setup. I'm not yet convinced.

I haven't used text messaging via phones, but have in the past given out short passages written in text speak and got classes to rewrite into proper French (great for working on spelling and pronunciation)

Still working on ways to use phones in language teaching - as promised to the pupil in your school who interviewed me! For example, I sent pupils a set of directions following a route round the top part of Tobermory and they went off following those directions and this worked well.

Thank you Mark and Ewan for your excellent comments. I'd never thought of using text messaging as a replacement for a classroom performance system (CPS). That's really interesting.

I've had a quick look at textanywhere and it would seem that the TextPremium service is what you used Mark. Here is the link:

With TextPremium, you get TextQuiz (simple multiple choice competitions) and TextVote (a text vote service). The pricing seems quite expensive, but there is a 15% discount for educational establishments and as Mark points out this is much cheaper than a dedicated CPS like Quizdom or ACTIVote although of course not offering the same features.

Here is the link to mobile phone use in the classroom from the MFLE site which mentions text messaging under the Basic mobile phone use tab.

I agree with you Ewan that I am still undecided about schools buying mobile devices such as PDA's over say laptops. Have a look at this earlier post about the experiment in Dudley and the comments left by other language teachers:

Hi Lynne,

Yes, I read your great post 'The wonders of Bluetooth. Very interesting also.

and here is the link to the IOW conference film including the Ashley and Lynne interview:

as well as your immediate response after the conference 'A Good Question':

I can see the use of texting in class could be a very motivating and useful idea. Thanks for everyone's comments so far.

How do you pay for the text messaging?

Hi Kevin,

I guess the pupils would have to pay. Mind you I would imagine they would have so many text messages a month according to the contract they were on.

I don't know of a free way of doing this, but I recommend you have a look at Liz Kolb's blog who could better advise you on this:

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