Group Me -This app is essentially a group chat room via text message. It allows you to send one text message that will be sent to the members of a specific group. (You can create/become a member of multiple groups) And when someone replies to your message, that reply is also sent to every member of the group. It's a great way to inform your students about events, and even great to start conversations between students. If you have a smart phone you can download the app for all of the major platforms iPhone, Android, Blackberry and even Windows Phone 7 (Sorry no support for Palm) and you will receive your message and be notified via data push (which is great if you don't have unlimited texts).
- Quick easy way to communicate directly with your students, volunteers, whom ever you create and invite to your groups.
- Great community builder, students are tied to their phones like an oxygen tank, it's a great way to get conversations going between your students.
- It's free.
- It's stable. (I've heard of a few cases where some messages have been dropped, but I've used this service for about 4 months with several groups messaging simultaneously without any drops in communication.)
- Stay on patrol! Whenever you have a group of teenagers interacting there are bound to be conflicts, outbursts, and even the occasional hook up. Make sure you and your volunteers on included in each group and be ready to diffuse any situation that may arise.
- Not everyone has unlimited texting or a smart phone. If a group gets excited you can easily find yourself with 50+ text messages in a matter of minutes. We have single-handedly destroyed cell phone bills by adding people without realizing they were on a limited number of texts per month. Be careful!
- Don't let it be your only connecting point. I haven't said this to a student yet, but I would hate to say to someone that they missed out on something important because they aren't a part of a group. "Didn't you get the Group Me message?" is not a get out of jail free card. This is a great tool, but we still need to be intentional when contacting students, volunteers, and parents about important events, details or changes.
For us this tech works well, while it may not be for everyone it's definitely worth a spin.