Celly is a communication platform that allows teachers to create private mobile social networks to connect with students and/or parents. Once these networks or “cells” are established, teachers can conduct discussions, send polls, moderate comments and curate chats. Founders Russell Okamoto and Greg Passmore, former software architects at VMWare, aimed to “build the smallest tool that could make the biggest impact.” As a result, Celly was created to give anyone the power to create social networks.
To set up a cell, a teacher creates a free account using an existing email address, Facebook, or Twitter account on www.cel.ly or through the Celly mobile app (iOS and Android). After customizing his or her user account, the teacher starts a new cell by selecting a friendly name, unique ID number and an optional cover image for the group, class, or team. To invite cell members, a teacher can either send invitations directly to the member’s username or email address, or can share a link or a code to send in via text message. Teachers can also use the “wave” feature, which allows any user with the Celly app in the vicinity to join a cell while the wave button is active. Each new cell is set as a restricted group, which means that any new members must be approved.
Once approved as a member, any user can send messages to the rest of the members of the group. Celly displays a Twitter-like feed with a running timeline of messages in the center of the page with newer messages at the top. Messages can be sent by email, text message, or through the web or mobile app. Celly is different from other social media, though, in the type of message that can be shared and the ability to control how the messages are delivered. Messages are not limited in their length and can include attachments, photos, polls and emoticons. They can be scheduled to be sent at a later time, and can be curated by the teacher before being sent to the entire group. By restricting group membership and curating messages, teachers are able to use cell phones in classroom activities and keep group messages on point.
Teachers have used Celly to promote student participation in class activities, broadcast announcements to teams and clubs, notify of school closures and remind about class assignments. Students can use the cell to ask questions and seek help or clarification on their assignments.
Celly is a free product, but offers additional polling, quizzes, recurring scheduling, message exporting, and user management functionality through its “Celly for Leader” subscription.
Are you a teacher or administrator who has used this product? Be the first to share your experiences with others by writing a Case Study: