Group text messaging from SMS

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Mark Osborne

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Jun 12, 2011, 5:12:37 PM6/12/11
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Kia ora koutou,
How many people are using group text messaging from their SMS?

Given that at 17c a message, costs can rack up pretty quickly, what have people done to manage these costs? If every teacher is able to message every class or group whenever they like, we could be in for quite a sizable bill. Interested in feedback from people's experience.
Cheers,

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Mark Osborne
Deputy Principal,
Albany Senior High School.
536 Albany Highway, North Shore City.
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Adrian Gray

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Jun 12, 2011, 5:35:00 PM6/12/11
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We have used http://www.thesmsengine.com/

Australian based but cheaper. We have used it in conjunction with PC School. Includes 2 way messaging.

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Patrick

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Jun 12, 2011, 7:39:06 PM6/12/11
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Is this similar to the facilities that are offered to schools in NZ to
use for attendance notification with their SMS?

On Jun 13, 9:35 am, Adrian Gray <gr...@cathedralgrammar.school.nz>
wrote:
> We have usedhttp://www.thesmsengine.com/
> Australian based but cheaper. We have used it in conjunction with PC School. Includes 2 way messaging.
>
> From: mle-refer...@googlegroups.com [mailto:mle-refer...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Osborne
> Sent: Monday, 13 June 2011 9:13 a.m.
> To: MLE Reference Group
> Subject: [MLE] Group text messaging from SMS
>
> Kia ora koutou,
> How many people are using group text messaging from their SMS?
>
> Given that at 17c a message, costs can rack up pretty quickly, what have people done to manage these costs? If every teacher is able to message every class or group whenever they like, we could be in for quite a sizable bill. Interested in feedback from people's experience.
> Cheers,
>
> --
> Hei konā mai,
>
> Mark Osborne
> Deputy Principal,
> Albany Senior High School.
> 536 Albany Highway, North Shore City.
> Find us on Open Street Map<http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-36.730128&lon=174.696304&zoom=18&l...>
> Our Wikieducator Portal<http://wikieducator.org/Albany_Senior_High_School>, e-learning@ASHS<http://wikieducator.org/Albany_Senior_High_School/e-learning>
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Donna Francis

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Jun 12, 2011, 7:49:19 PM6/12/11
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We use text messaging via our SMS (MUSAC) for attendance.
For general text messaging, we do not text directly via our SMS (Musac) - (I am not aware that we can do general text messaging from MUSAC, I understand that you can in KAMAR)

We use Txtstream for email and emergency text messaging.
Currently there is only 1 user setup to send text messages (myself), although selected Admin staff
have been shown how to do this also.
We have only used text messaging to our students in cases of emergency. We have also setup our staff mobiles in TxtStream so that
we can text to them in a case of emergency.
We do not text our parents for general messages unless an emergency.
Regards,
Donna Francis
Baradene College
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Paul Seiler

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Jun 12, 2011, 8:23:02 PM6/12/11
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Donna, thanks for sharing this. I understand that there is a way to do general notification with TxtStream so have copied in Mark to answer this. It might not be from within MUSAC but through a plug-in they provide.

Paul.
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Peter Hills

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Jun 12, 2011, 11:32:58 PM6/12/11
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Hi Al

We text straight from MUSAC and text to all main contacts.  We have used 2 providers to date.  The office staff can all txt but ti does require a set up configuration.

From next term we have been notified of the need for a user pays process ($20 plus 17c per txt plus GST) so will probably text 2 times a day - morning and afternoon.

We txt approximately 10% of the school every time we message - (down from 15% 5 years ago).

We too are considering the options as this will prove expensive.


thanks
Peter H





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thanks
 
Peter Hills

Deputy Principal
Logan Park High School
Dunedin
New Zealand

Before you print   Is it really necessary?

Letitia McLaughlan

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Jun 13, 2011, 5:55:31 PM6/13/11
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HI

We have used MUSAC txt messaging for sending out messages for parents after quakes.

One thing to remember if you wish to do the same - the message you send needs to be edited and the after txts have been sent from MUSAC - you must wait several hours before you edit the outgoing message again as there can be quite a delay and you don't want them getting the wrong message!!!!!

Letitia

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Letitia McLaughlan
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Marian College
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Ros

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Jun 14, 2011, 12:18:27 AM6/14/11
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Kamar is our SMS. We use SchoolLinks for texting parents re absence
via Absence Manager in Kamar. We pay an annual fee plus cost per text
or email using SchoolLinks but are reviewing its use at present as we
only use the Absence functionality of this program and can achieve the
same using TextStream at a lower cost. TextStream is integrated into
Kamar so that configuration and implementation of the texting
capability is quick and easy.

We are just about to start using TextStream for general messaging.
This costs $20 per month admin fee with no contract period so we can
turn it off at any time without penalty. Currently we will be
limiting texting rights to authorised staff only (there is a tick box
in the Staff Access area which turns texting rights on and off on an
individual basis) so that we can control its usage.

Careers want to text Gateway students. The problem with this is that
we can't allocate their texting charges to their department or any
other cost centre, in order to monitor what they are spending and to
charge them accordingly. If we could do that it would enable
departments to track and manage their own spending on texting.

I heard the suggestion from another school a while ago that they have
added a communications surcharge to fees. I can't remember whether it
was being imposed at school level or by particular extra-curricular/
sports groups or academic departments using texting. The surcharge
was to cover the added cost of texting. I haven't suggested that or
something similar as a possibility here as yet.

As a one-off we are considering texting all parents who have no email
address to get them to update their email details. This is because we
are now emailing school newsletters and other communications and don't
have email addresses for all caregivers. I am not sure what level of
response we would get from parents if we did this. And it presupposes
our mobile phone number data is up-to-date!

As a rule I imagine our policy will be whole school texting only in
the case of emergency such as school closure at short notice etc.

Ros Lee
Web Administrator
Otumoetai College
Tauranga
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Julian Davison

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Jun 14, 2011, 1:03:05 AM6/14/11
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On 14/06/2011 4:18 p.m., Ros wrote:
> We are just about to start using TextStream for general messaging.
> This costs $20 per month admin fee with no contract period so we can
> turn it off at any time without penalty. Currently we will be
> limiting texting rights to authorised staff only (there is a tick box
> in the Staff Access area which turns texting rights on and off on an
> individual basis) so that we can control its usage.
>
> Careers want to text Gateway students. The problem with this is that
> we can't allocate their texting charges to their department or any
> other cost centre, in order to monitor what they are spending and to
> charge them accordingly. If we could do that it would enable
> departments to track and manage their own spending on texting.

I realise that I come from a slightly different point of view
than many of the contributers here, in that I began life in
the field of programming. That said...

One of the really nice things about TextStream, from 'our' point
of view is that it provides a number of ways of submitting messages
to it for delivery. This provision includes the documentation
required to 'roll your own' sending system.
Given that, it is (in theory) relatively straightforward to add
TextStream to an existing charging system such that you could allow
the user(s) to declare the appropriate cost-centre at the time of
sending.
The trick, as always, is who will actually roll such a system. For
us it's simple. Depending on your SMS/Accounting/etc packages the
correct place for such an extension may fall between companies.

> As a one-off we are considering texting all parents who have no email
> address to get them to update their email details. This is because we
> are now emailing school newsletters and other communications and don't
> have email addresses for all caregivers. I am not sure what level of
> response we would get from parents if we did this. And it presupposes
> our mobile phone number data is up-to-date!

This is our greatest issue. In the last 24-30 months we've been rolling
out a system which emails parents information about their students
each week. Collecting email addresses, and keeping them up to date has
been a long and not always straightforward process.
We have a scheduled mail-out to parents that asks them to check and
correct their information (I'm not certain what it is, precisely) but
we don't have 100% return on these, and it's not always simple to
determine if that's because the parents haven't had time yet, or we
have out-of-date details and they never received the update request!
The weekly note system (as it's called locally) is presently running
for years 9, 10 and 11. It includes information on recent absences and
(optional) comments from class teachers. This seems to have provided a
great incentive for parents as we have a more complete set of email
addresses for those levels.

We have always believed (and this experience seems to back this
theory up) that people will make a more concerted effort if they
see a positive return for them.


J,


Patrick

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Jun 14, 2011, 2:19:25 AM6/14/11
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The details can be found on their website
http://www.txtstream.co.nz/

Basically they have stand alone as well as SMS integration.

Andy Parker

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Jun 14, 2011, 10:06:21 PM6/14/11
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Looks like Vodafone have recently launched Multi-TXT.


The links at the bottom of the page give good documentation, including to the API for the service.

The pricing sample given on the site is;

Simple pricing

For example, if you send 5,400 TXTs, the first 2,000 will be 12 cents each, the next 3,000 will be 11 cents and the remaining 400 would be 10 cents each, so the total cost would be $610 + GST.

Number of TXTs 1 - 2,000 2,001 - 5,000 5,001 - 15,000 15,001 - 50,000 50,000+
Cost per TXT 12 cents 11 cents 10 cents 9 cents 8 cents

All prices exclude GST and usage resets to zero each month. International TXTs are $1 + GST.

Disclaimer - I have never used this service, and am not connected to Vodafone in any way

Andy

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Derek Chirnside

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Jun 14, 2011, 11:19:00 PM6/14/11
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Totally naive question.

How come I can get 2-3 texts a day from Google for free?  Are they tracking my movements and selling the information or using it to leverage ther own business?

We investigated the possibility of getting a cell tower at the UoC for such things as clicker responses and other fun things, but they did not make it easy to do.

-Derek

hayato

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Jun 15, 2011, 12:42:30 AM6/15/11
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I'm trying to start up a quick website for sending out alerts to students, I'd be interested in what schools think of this idea.

The website is http://www.myalerts.co.nz/ where a school can sign up and a Facebook Page and Twitter Account are set up at our end. The school can then log into the website to send out alerts to students for free.
The alerts get posted to both of the pages and students can use their Facebook/Twitter account to get free SMS alerts (Vodafone/Telecom only).

This website is still in the early stages of development (only 10 hours of programing so far and no work on graphics yet) but it is in a working stage, try out the sample account and let me know what you think.

Adrian Gray

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Jun 15, 2011, 5:12:18 AM6/15/11
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Sounds good in concept until you need to communicate in a time of crisis. Having been in 2 major earthquakes in Christchurch, it was critical for us to know that ALL of our parent body received an alert. Having our entire parent body hosted externally within School-links gave us the reassurance that all parents would at least have been sent a message, even though the reality of overloaded cell towers meant that the message was delayed in many cases. With no power, sending from a local SMS was not an option. During the first quake, we were able to send messages from an iPhone, so user interface on a small screen is an important consideration.

 

From: mle-refer...@googlegroups.com [mailto:mle-refer...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of hayato
Sent: Wednesday, 15 June 2011 4:43 p.m.
To: mle-refer...@googlegroups.com
Subject: [MLE] Re: Group text messaging from SMS

 

I'm trying to start up a quick website for sending out alerts to students, I'd be interested in what schools think of this idea.

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