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By Dr. Harry Tennant

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Keep parents working with you through email or SMS

Two common complaints from parents are that they didn’t know their child was doing poorly in time to help and they only hear from teachers when there’s bad news. With the proper tools, those are easy to fix.

Teachers often make use of e-mail in connection with their classes. For example newsletters e-mailed to parents can keep them informed as to what's going on in class. Even more useful is a targeted e-mail capability that allows teachers to easily send messages to large and small lists or parents. For example, a teacher could compose a welcome message to the parents of all the students in her class or could just as easily create messages for the parents of just those three students who didn't turn in their homework assigned for last night. A facility for easy, personalized emails to parents allows for more targeted, more personal, messages to parents. And it's an easy way to keep the flow of communication going between teacher and parent. Teachers can notify parents as soon as problems begin to develop. When emails are quick and easy, teachers can send out a quick notes to all parents with just a couple of lines about how well the book reports went this week. When it’s easy, and sending a message is not a big production, little snippets of good news and alerts to upcoming tests can be sent almost effortlessly. And that enhances parent involvement, which leads to higher student achievement.

Email to SMS
SMS (also known as TXT or text messages on mobile phones) is the prefered messaging medium for some folks. Nearly all cell phone providers have an email-to-SMS service. You can send an email to the recipient's phone number at a particular address and the message will be delivered as a text message on the phone. Some limitations apply, however.

  • While there is no cost to send the email-to-SMS message, the recipient will still incur their normal fee for receiving the message. Be sure to ask permission to send notes as text messages.
  • Messages are limited to 160 characters. It will include the subject line. Unlike many phones that will convert longer text messages to multiple messages, the email-to-SMS facility will typically simply truncate long messages.
  • Mail messages in plain text mode, not HTML mode. SMS messages do not understand HTML and the normally hidden markup characters may show to the recipient as unreadable junk.

Here are the email-to-SMS addresses for the most common carriers from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/email-to-sms/. See that page for a more complete list.

  • Alltel
    • [10-digit phone number]@message.alltel.com
      Example: 1234567890@message.alltel.com
  • AT&T
    • [10-digit phone number]@txt.att.net
      [10-digit phone number]@mms.att.net (MMS)
      Example: 1234567890@txt.att.net
  • Sprint Nextel
    • [10-digit phone number]@messaging.sprintpcs.com
      [10-digit phone number]@pm.sprint.com (MMS)
      Example: 1234567890@messaging.sprintpcs.com
  • T-Mobile
    • [10-digit phone number]@tmomail.net
      Example: 1234567890@tmomail.net
  • Verizon
    • [10-digit phone number]@vtext.com
      [10-digit phone number]@vzwpix.com (MMS)
      Example: 1234567890@vtext.com
  • Virgin Mobile USA
    • [10-digit phone number]@vmobl.com
      Example: 1234567890@vmobl.com

Posted at 12:00 AM Keywords: parental involvement , email-to-SMS 2 Comments

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