As the results from students in Australian education continue to slip (source), schools, colleges and universities are looking increasingly towards more supportive methods and channels of communication to contribute to a better educational outcome.
While telephone and email all serve a purpose, the mass adoption of SMS by millennials and adults alike leaves it open to opportunity.
Here are three ways SMS can be used to improve educational standards:
1. Boost educational performance
School communications have drastically changed in the last two decades. Online portals and emails are used in addition to written notices and report cards as a means of strengthening the partnerships between teachers and parents. And there’s plenty of room to evolve.
Recent research conducted by Columbia University in America found that sending automated SMS alerts to parents following missed assignments, poor grades and class absences of their child, showed that they managed to reduce course failure by 39% and encourage class attendance by 17%.
Text messages like the below showed an increase in the desired response rate:
“Parent alert: Peter has 5 missing assignments in history class. For more information, log in online.”
Many parents didn’t exercise the option to investigate further online, but still were able to use the SMS alerts as a way to improve their child’s performance.
SMS provides parents with vital information instantly, and in a time frame that allows them to react just as quickly.
2. Mobile learning
A study conducted at a community college in North Carolina in the US also looked at how text messaging could be used to enhance mobile learning on a pre-algebra course.
One-way text messages were sent to students about quiz reminders, exams, assignment due dates and various maths problem and formulas for student to solve.
The results were very positive, with students welcoming the reminders, especially after they finished their part time job at night.
Others felt that the formulas or math problems helped them to refresh their memory and assisted their studies.
Some students even suggested that two-way communication which would have enabled them to answer the questions and get further feedback would have been preferred.
This opens up the potential SMS has as an educational tool. SMS enjoys the benefit of being direct, instant and personal yet not intrusive. It enhances engagement and interaction which are essential to keep students motivated in the learning process.
Given more thought, there is an opportunity for SMS to be adopted into different classes and integrated as an aid to help students achieve a better learning outcome.
3. Emotional support
It is estimated that college students spend an average of 9 hours a day on their mobile phone with texting as the number one activity. While some people feel that it raises the alarm of mobile phone addiction, there might be a silver lining here for educational establishments looking to adopt SMS.
The Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand showed how SMS interventions for persuasion and encouragement sent twice a week helped significantly improve the grades of students. In a recent study Maori and Pacific students who received the text messages scored far higher in the final exam than those who didn’t receive any.
This demonstrates how much the personal aspect of SMS can be used to support while improving educational standards of both student and institution.
As an education provider or a not-for-profit organization, do you have any other ideas or methods of using SMS? We’d love to hear from you.
If you would like to discuss ways to integrate SMS into your organisation, contact us on 1300 764 946.