This semester I am again using the SMS text messaging service Textmarks to send periodic alerts and updates to students enrolled in my “Computers in the Classroom” section at UNT. The service has changed its terms and pricing a bit in past months, and this semester I’ve been on a free trial. Last spring I did opt to pay, but I think it was just $10 per month to remove ads from messages. At this point, unfortunately, a similar ad-free service is $20 per month.


I am opting to go with the ad-free Textmarks service, but based on my experiences last semester with their ads I would NOT recommend using this “lite” / ad-free version with K12 students. Most of the ads my students received following my messages last term after my allotment of SMS messages was exhausted were along the lines of “meet singles in your area.” šŸ™


I love the concept and function of Textmarks for keeping students updated, but their pricing model seems a bit steep for widespread educational use… Certainly when individual teachers / instructors are footing the bill.

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7 Responses to Sticking with Free Ad-Supported SMS Alerts for Class

  1. Penny says:

    I’ve had some success using Google Calendar’s SMS reminders with students šŸ™‚ Even getting them to set their own SMS reminders in advance really works!

  2. David Wright says:

    I’m using Twitter to send text messages to my students this year. By texting “follow (insert user name)” to 40404, Students can sign up to receive Tweets through SMS without a Twitter account.

  3. Wesley Fryer says:

    Wow, that is a GREAT tip, David. I assume the Twitter account has to be public and can’t be protected to do this? Can you share the Twitter account ID you’re using for your class? I REALLY like this idea. (Especially the cost!)

  4. Ryan Collins says:

    A little more work, but cheaper is to set up a listerv with the students SMS email addresses. Most of the major carriers allow you to send emails as texts. For example, on Verizon you can send an email to THEIRNUMBER@vtext.com. Here’s a list from Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_SMS_gateways

  5. David Wright says:

    I think the Twitter account has to be public, but I’m not 100% sure. I’ll look into that. The Twitter account ID we use is randallhighband. I use it to remind students about upcoming band rehearsals, contest information, etc. I could also use it to notify them about emergency cancellations, etc.

  6. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks David – I really like your method and may use that next semester for a FREE SMS alert method.

  7. THanks David, also- we have been looking into an SMS plan, but I think that I will try this out first.

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