How I Use It
Before my school was 1:1, I used Cel.ly to allow students to use their cell phones to text messages into a "Cell" that I displayed on the board. The messages were geared toward something that the students were listening to. For example, students might be listening to an iTunes U lecture and conversing about it at the same time through the Cel.ly back channel. Now that my school has gone 1:1, I'm using Cel.ly for group messaging. I coach academic teams, so I can create specialized Cells that allow me to text one message that goes to several students. In addition, Cel.ly has transformed my AP summer work. This year, I assigned less reading than ever, but I've required discussions about the readings through Cel.ly. From all across my school district, students are conversing about the readings that I've assigned, and I'm participating as well, prompting and furthering discussion.
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