At the NUA CoP we discussed using text messaging to build relationships with students and bridge the gap between teen culture and teacher culture. Using teleflip.com allows teachers to use Microsoft Outlook to send text messages to students. All you need to do is type on the Outlook TO: line the phone number.teleflip.com.
I'm planning on getting student cell phone numbers on the first day of school, and I will try to text a few students each day. I will use text messages to remind students of missed assignments or if I need to meet with them, but mainly, I plan on using text messages as positive reinforcement for something I witnessed them doing well in class.
My husband read about teleflip in PC World, and he reminded me that sending the messages in Plain Text from Outlook will make the messages easier to read on cell phones. To get to plain text, simply click on the drop down menu where the HTML default is located on your email message.
The Star Tribune had a story on text messaging using email today, and they said how easy it is to do if you know the recipient's cell phone service provider. I guess the reporter had not heard about teleflip.com which requires no provider information. It's even easier than the Star Tribune realizes. Sometimes it pays to have a Tech Geek, PC World reading husband.