They were named a top ten education technology startup of 2011 by Hack Education. Celly lets people create private communication networks that work really well for situations that other social networks don't and they have a schools specific section. Teachers, students and parents can communicate (while not revealing their phone numbers) via text messaging. They have a rich suite of tools that include: moderated messaging, so students can help each other and ask questions with guidance from the teacher polling for instant evaluation and clicker replacement access from the web, sms, and email phone numbers. Emails and phone numbers are not shared nor exchanged.
To me, these two key features alone make it worthy of checking out:
- Phone numbers and email addresses are kept private from the users. Which sometimes raises a flag because it allows for anonymous users, BUT...
- Teachers can moderate all messages before allowing them to go through. -In my opinion, too many companies are digging in their heels about moderation and insisting on not providing that feature. In school districts where the legal dept. has plenty to do (such as mine), something without moderation will have a very difficult time passing the Sniff Test. This holds true for principals who spend too much of their time dealing with social media issues at their schools (even when they happen at home). From my experience, principals trust their teachers very much, but are unlikely to allow their teachers to use something that can't be moderated.
According to their message to me, "This is a free service that sent over 1 million text messages last month and is growing fast."
Audrey Watters does a great job of summarizing Celly. I suggest you check out her post.