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Celly Launches Group Texting Service, Android App

Celly this week unveiled its free group texting service, which allows schools and universities to create "cells," or private virtual groups, for class discussions, polls, and more. Celly simultaneously launched an Android app, which is available for free download on Google Play.

Portland, OR-based Celly lets educational institutions and other organizations create "cells" using mobile phones or tablets. For example, instructors could set up cells to hold class discussions, receive class feedback from students, send homework reminders and school alerts, and blast messages to parents and study groups. Schools could use Celly as a call to action to promote fundraisers. Clubs could use Celly to send out event alerts and coordinate travel planning and ride-sharing.

Celly can be synchronized through text-messaging, Web sites, e-mail, and Android app. Invitations can be sent to members through a link, QR code, text message, or Facebook.

Celly's features, which are the same on all platforms, include:

  • Designation of moderator to monitor "cells";
  • Ability to send messages automatically with or without review by the moderator;
  • On-boarding, which allows users to access Celly through cell phone, smart phone, or tablet;
  • Unlimited "cell" membership, which users must opt-in to use;
  • Tracking of RSS and Twitter feeds for subjects of interest to the "cell";
  • Instant notification of discovery for members; and
  • Message routing from one cell to others using hashtags.

In addition, users can add their own avatars, sounds, and themes, and use the notes cell to write to-do lists.

"Celly is changing the face of education. While Twitter, Google+, and other social media Web sites are blocked at my school, I can freely use Celly to communicate with my students and their parents in a safe and supportive environment," said Melissa Seideman, history teacher at Haldane High School in Cold Spring, NY, in a prepared statement provided by Celly. "I use Celly to send text messages to students with reminders, announcements, polls, and questions. Students can text me a specific question such as 'what is on the test tomorrow?' or 'what did I miss in class?' if they were out sick. With Celly, cell phones have the potential to bridge the gap between the home, school, and social media world."

Celly also reported plans to release an iPhone app, premium plans, and developer API in the future.

For more information, visit cel.ly.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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