When I first set out to write this article I didn’t think the topic was very exciting. Sending text messages – how exciting could that be? Boy, was I wrong!
The more I read about the text-sending application Mobilskole and its integration with itslearning, the more intrigued I became by the many possibilities it offers, especially its ability to prevent bullying!
Most of us were bullied at one time or another while growing up. For some of us it was a repeated occurrence. Witnesses and victims of bullying don’t always report these events to their teachers, partly for fear of being labeled “tattletales” by their classmates.
Lately, schools have begun encouraging students to report instances of bullying by text message. Using the Mobilskole app through itslearning, students can now send anonymous messages about bullying as it is occurring. Teachers receive the messages on their cell phones and can intervene right away.
Mobilskole was created in Norway and is available in Norwegian, Swedish and English to any school that uses itslearning. It allows schools, teachers and students to send each other texts (and emails) at the click of a button. You can send messages to individuals, entire classes, or groups of your own making. It’s easy to add this app to your itslearning dashboard and integrate it with your existing contact lists. Schools can use Mobilskole to keep a record of all messages sent, which could be useful in clarifying misunderstandings.
No more paper messages in student backpacks
Messages that were previously sent home as notes in a child’s backpack can now be sent paper-free through Mobilskole. This prevents students from losing messages and ensures that each parent (in the case of a divorced couple, for example) receives pertinent information.
As a parent holding down a full time job and raising two boys, I struggle to juggle the requirements of school and work. I receive a plethora of notes from school and daycare regarding field trips, bake sales, etc. in my sons’ backpacks. I’m reluctant to admit it, but these messages sometimes get lost in piles of papers at home. I’ll never forget the day I forgot to pack my son’s bathing suit on “pool party” day and he had to sit poolside and watch the others swim. If only I had received a text message reminding me of the event that morning, my son would have been able to join in the fun!
Did you ever skip school as a child? I did once, but some students make a habit of it. Mobilskole can help reduce absenteeism. For example, when a student doesn’t show up to a lesson at Elverum Secondary School in Norway, parents are informed by text message. Using Mobilskole and other tactics, some Norwegian schools have been able to reduce absenteeism by 50%.
A few years ago I taught at a Norwegian high school in Bergen, Norway. In order to improve one of my student’s attendance habits, I agreed to escort him from his parents’ car to his first class each day so that he wouldn’t skip school. As the Norwegian winter set in, I grew reluctant to wait outside for him for him in subzero temperatures and started texting his parents to determine his exact arrival time. I paid for these text messages myself. I’m sure there are other teachers sending school-related text messages on their own bill. With Mobilskole, such communication would be covered by the school itself.
Environmentally and socially friendly
Using Mobilskole instead of paper is environmentally friendly. The app can improve a school’s social environment, too. It can bring teachers, parents and students closer together by allowing them to exchange personal feedback and praise. Some schools use Mobilskole to send encouraging messages to students and parents to make them feel they are part of the community and that their efforts have not been not in vain. Parents are able to send questions to teachers and quickly report when their children are at home sick. Mobilskole can increase attendance at parent meetings as well. Schools have reported that more parents attend when they receive reminders by text message on meeting days.
School closure and evacuation
The ability of schools to send text messages to all parents simultaneously can be extremely useful. Schools around the world are subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Depending on the country, schools could be closed due to power outages, snowstorms, hurricanes, etc. Receiving notice of school closure by text before the morning commute could keep people off the roads and help prevent accidents.
As an American parent living in Norway, I’m relieved not to have the abundance of worries that parents in the States have when they kiss their children goodbye before they board the school bus. But even here in idyllic Norway, we are not entirely spared. European schools sometimes need to be evacuated and warning messages are circulated. With Mobilskole, word is spread quickly and efficiently.
Order a free Mobilskole demo here.