ICT for Learning: Contacting Students

There are several ways to contact students online.

1. SMS - Most (but not all) students have a mobile. If you collect student mobile phone numbers (via paper or ask them to SMS you with their name) with their permission then you can SMS them from your mobile, Outlook or an online SMS service. You can SMS individually or as a group.

Some mobile plans have cheap or free SMS packages - and mobiles can often be connected to a PC for easy use and extra features.
Some teachers on some campuses are using Telstra Desktop Messagingto SMS and even MMS students.

2. Email - Most (but not all) students have an email account - however not all students check their email regularly. Students under 30 often prefer other methods of communication such as texting, chat or social networking services.

If you collect student email addresses then you can email them individually or create distribution lists to email as a group or class. Students under 30 commonly use GMAIL and HOTMAIL - some use their campus email address.

If you create a GMAIL account for yourself and ask students to email you then you can easily create a class group from the contacts list GMAIL automatically creates. If you have access to student ID photos your GMAIL contacts can include student photos. Using GMAIL means student emails do not get mixed with your campus email (and lost or accidentally deleted). GMAIL also has a very large storage limit so you can keep all emails without filling your mailbox.

3. Chat and Online Presence - Many students use chat through Live Messenger, GMAIL, MySpace, Facebook... If you use any of these services you can see when a student is online and opportunistically chat with them. Most services also provide voice and video chat.
NB If you are considering using social networking services such as MySpace or Facebook it is generally considered best practice to wait for students to 'friend' or 'add' you if they wish - rather than adding them.

4. WebCT/Moodle Messaging - If your group/class uses an online learning environment such as WebCT or Moodle then individual and group messaging is usually an option.

Future Possibilities
Other communication options may become available later this year.