Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013

Celly

Private group-texting tool has some potential for classroom use

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Teachers say (3 Reviews)
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Grades
6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: The Celly team offers lots of guidance and seems to be truly interested in bringing people together.

Cons: Not all kids have their own cell phone or computer, so it could be difficult for some to check messages.

Bottom Line: A way to communicate with groups through texting, Celly has the potential to improve community dynamics.

The folks at Celly are very service-oriented -- they want to help groups that can really benefit from Celly gain access to it. They've put together ideas for educators and a page full of actual examples and ways to implement them. There are also lots of everyday uses for Celly -- for example, a student who's sick or going to be absent can let you know using the service.

Celly for Leaders is a supplementary package with bonus features. For example, it allows teachers to create quizzes that can be graded and tracked within the site. It's $5 a month for educators, which isn't a bad deal if you're already successfully using Celly.

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Celly is a website that allows users to create mobile social networks, called cells, that work with any mobile phone or device. Members can join instantly with one text and exchange group messages, polls, reminders, and web alerts. A cell can be a group of friends, a sports team, a community organization, or any number of people that would benefit from this kind of communication. Celly works from any phone or Web browser. You can send and receive group messages, polls, and alerts using SMS text messaging, email, or the Celly website.

Group membership and message content can be moderated for security and relevancy. Cells can be private or public and organized by name, topic, and geography. This makes Celly a great tool for large groups that need to coordinate but require user privacy. For instance, you can use Celly group texting to broadcast alerts, promote events, administer classrooms, enhance mobile learning, gather feedback, or just to keep in contact with your friends and family. 

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This is a really cool tool. Though it seems basic, it is a fantastic free resource that lets groups communicate. In addition to having a simple interface and being versatile, the site's creators have done a lot to help people learn the best ways to use the site for the greater good. To use it, all parties need to have access to a cell phone or computer, but students can also check Celly updates at the library or school, if necessary.

The privacy Celly maintains is a big draw. Users don't need to exchange personal information or phone numbers to communicate over Celly; everyone's known by their Celly username. Educators can also set privacy restrictions on who can join groups and who can send messages.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Kids hooked on their smartphones will respond well to Celly, though you can also use it on a desktop computer. The interface is well designed and very easy to use.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Celly gives teens the opportunity to follow school or community groups on their phones; though social, it's more utilitarian than chatty. Sending messages directly to a teacher or class is empowering; kids will feel heard.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

An epic FAQ helps to explain what the site does and how to implement it in your community. Data is secure and well organized within the site.


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Joe G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lowell Senior High School
Lowell, IN
5
Celly is great for collaboration, back channeling, and group messaging.

Prior to my students each having their own lap top, Cel.ly was the best tech tool I had ever encountered. It improved engagement. It didn't replace traditional classroom discussions; those still took place. Instead, it gave us an option that students enjoyed using from time to time. I would even have students absent from class participating in discussions from their homes. You can check out our school districts video on Cel.ly at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xH30QnPGZA

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