How I Use It
I tried Celly first for a 7th and 8th grade field trip to Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. Students were assigned to groups, and were taking phones and tablets along to follow a virtual tour. The tour included pictures and responses that had to be sent to me as the group leader. I was attracted to Celly first because it would allow students who didn't have access to a Smartphone to text responses and pictures. I first set up a cell, gave it a name, and invited the members of my small group. I ran into unforeseen problems with students knowing how to use the service. Students had no problem signing up but couldn't figure out what to do next. Even the most technologically savvy students simply found the website counterintuitive.
Celly can also be used without using phones. I set up a computer coding class as a cell, then invited the students to join. Each week I posted the assignment for the week, which involved a general design question and a task for the week. It really freed my time at the beginning of each class. Students knew the procedure: enter class and, using Chromebooks, sign in to Celly, check the design question and respond, then check the task and get to work. Once they were signed in they were able to send me questions and comments, which I had the option of sharing with the rest of the class.
I am still convinced that there is great potential to use this website to promote easy collaboration and project-based learning. I had greater success using the site with computers than with phones, although a significant promotional point of this site is it's ability to use texting to respond to the teacher and to other students. This could be helpful to those students who only have access to a standard mobile phone.
I would recommend this site strongly for project-based classes, particularly when content revolves around design and problem-solving. Currently, the greatest drawback is that the site is not simple enough for students to use without fairly extensive (from a Middle School perspective) reading of the instructions.