Celly for Schools Setup Guide

What is Celly? 
Celly is a platform for ad-hoc social networks that is accessible via iPhoneAndroid, Web, SMS text and even email. Our emergent networks connect individuals and communities for instant and easy communication. With Celly, educators can exchange group messages, send quizzes, and create school wide alerts. 

Three reasons Celly is popular with schools and educators: 
Privacy:  Students, teachers, and parents do not need to exchange personal information or phone numbers to communicate over Celly. Everyone is known by their Celly username. People can be invited by phone number or email, but phone numbers and email addresses are never revealed over Celly. Educators can also set privacy restrictions on who can join groups and who can send messages.

Accessibility: Celly is free for schools and requires no software to download or hardware purchases. Celly works with any phone (with apps and SMS text messaging) or web browser (laptop, tablet, ipad, smartphone, etc).  This makes it a low cost and easily accessible alternative to purchasing hardware and software devices. Students can participate in the same group using school computers or their own phones or devices (BYOD!). Groups can easily be formed just by texting the @cellname to 23559 (@cellname = the group name, e.g., @History101). 

Extra Tools: Celly comes with additional group communication tools. You can send group polls, schedule messages, filter in messages from the web or RSS, store notes, share groups via QR code, and connect multiple cell groups together to form multi-cell networks (e.g., an entire school or school district). These additional tools can be used for a wide variety of school scenarios.  We also have a premium pack that includes extra polling features, e.g., you can create quizzes that can be scored and graded; more info here: http://cel.ly/leaders

Here are some of the many ways you can use Celly at your school:
  • Moderated Group Messaging: Use Celly's moderation tools to facilitate in or out of class group discussion. Choose which messages are sent to the entire group or reply individually.
  • Scheduled Messages: Set scheduled reminders and announcements to be automatically sent at a later date and time.
  • Polling: Conduct instant polls with your class; use for pop quizzes, trivia, classroom assessment, and gathering feedback from students, parents, and staff. 
  • Teacher-Parent communication: Parents can easily join class groups and communicate with teachers directly over Celly without having to exchange personal information. 
  • Homework Help: Answer homework questions; send study tips and motivational messages. If a student is going to be out sick or late to class they can notify you via your Celly username. 
  • Team building and Group Projects: Students can create their own cells and use them for group projects. Teachers can join each group and monitor interactions and teamwork.
  • Field Trips: Keep everyone on the field trip connected and in communication using group messaging. Parents can easily join field trip cells and stay informed.
  • Sports Teams, Bands, and Clubs: Create cells for your HS sports teams, marching bands, and extracurricular clubs. Plan gatherings, send practice times, schedule changes, post-game highlights, and so on.
  • Multi-School Groups: Entire schools and districts can chain together multiple cells to form larger messaging networks. Administrators and principals can send one message to all connected cells. 
  • Note Taking: Students can store notes on Celly via SMS text or from the Celly website and schedule their own personal reminders. Each account has its own personal notes cell. Notes can be archived and retrieved at any time. 
This list is not exhaustive. Teachers are coming up with new and creative ways to use Celly all the time. For additional information on how teachers are using Celly in the classroom, visit our examples page: http://cel.ly/education/examples

Get Started:
Step#1 Create a Celly account
Step#2 Create a cell
Step#3 Invite your students to join

Step #1 Create a Celly Account
Students can join from their phones, but we recommend teachers start from the web. Enter a valid email address then choose a username and password. Names and numbers are never shared over Celly, you are identified by your unique username and/or display name.

Step #2 Create a Cell
Log into your newly created account, go into your cells page (located in the upper left hand corner of your inbox page) and click on "start a cell":

In the example above, a teacher enters the name @Science101 for her cell group. You can have a unique name for your group (the name students search for or text to join) as well as a display name (an easy way for you to identify your group). You can also upload or link to your own cell photo.

The first button is "membership": 

Either your cell's membership is open, meaning anyone can join, or it is restricted. Open is the easiest option for a first time setup--students can join instantly without needing to be approved. You can always change this setting later, once all of your students have joined and you don't want anyone else in your cell. 

If you choose restricted membership, prospective members will need to request to join by providing a bio, username or password (which you choose and distribute). While this method is more time consuming, it gives you greater control over who joins.

When you have decided how you want to handle membership, click on "chat mode":

There are three types of chat mode: curated chat, open chat, and alert only. We highly recommend that K-12 teachers new to Celly choose curated chat.

Curated chat: All messages sent to the cell must be approved by the admin before they are sent to the entire group. This way you can keep the cell conversation on-topic and free of inappropriate comments and control a potentially overwhelming chat stream.

Open chat mode: All messages are immediately viewable by all cell members. Open chat is good for mature classrooms that can handle un-moderated messaging. 

Alert Only chat mode: Use this mode if you want to send one way messages. Cell members will not be able to send messages to the cell. This mode works well for mass text alerts, e.g., "school is closed today". 

The Curated and Alert Only chat modes are also best if you want to utilize your SMS packs. All newly created cells get 1,000 SMS messages for free but this can go quickly if you have a large number of SMS using members and you will have to purchase more SMS packs. You can read more about that here.

The last button is "optional cell details":

This is not a necessary step, once you've chosen your cell name, chat mode, membership settings you can create your cell. However, this section is where you can write your cell's mission description and a welcome message for your students. All cell's are automatically created private but if you'd like you can add it to Celly's public directory. 

Once you've finished, click "start your cell".
That's it! You've created your first classroom cell.

Step #3 Invite your Students to Join
Now that you have finished setting up your cell, the next thing to do is have your students sign up and join.  Students can join via web, email, the Celly apps, or SMS. 

To join via SMS, students text @cellname to 23559. For example, if your unique cell name is @science101 then your students would text @science101 to the number 23559. 

For a more thorough explanation on how to invite students via web or email, see this invite guide

Frequently Asked Questions for Educators
Common questions we receive from administrators and educators:

Is my phone number kept private?
Yes, always.  You need to enter your phone number only if you want to receive cell texts to your phone via SMS. You can invite friends to join your cell by entering their phone numbers too, but this is not required.  Celly users will never see your phone number or the phone numbers of people you have invited.

Can I use Celly with my students?
It depends. You must be 13 years or older to use Celly. Please read our Terms of Service before implementing Celly.

How much does Celly cost? 
Celly does not cost anything if you use email, the Celly website, or the Celly apps. Celly SMS is free up to 1,000 SMS messages and standard text messaging and data rates from your phone carrier may apply when sending messages via SMS. To learn more about Celly's SMS pricing, go here.

If you want to implement Celly on a school or district-wide level, please email us at support@cel.ly

Can I use Celly without a phone?
Yep. You can access Celly using any web browser or via email.

Can I receive Celly messages through email?
Yes! Log into your Celly account on the web and go to your user profile page: http://cel.ly/profile. From there, click the "Email Me" check box under Profile Basics. Note: this turns on email notifications for your account, but does not turn on email messaging for cells. You can turn on email messaging for a specific cell by clicking the "email is off" button located on each cell page. 

How do I change my username?
There are two ways to change your username. One way is by texting changename to 23559. This will send a change name request to Celly support. You can also request a username change from the web. To do so, go here: http://cel.ly/username  (you will need to be logged into your Celly account). On the next screen type in a new username, then click the "Request Username Change" button.

How do I set my password/reset my password?
If you need to change your password, you can do so from your phone by texting password to 23559. Or, you can login to your Celly account online and change your password here: http://cel.ly/profile  . 

How do I change the phone number on my Celly account?
If you need to change the phone number attached to your Celly account, you can do so by logging into your account on the Celly website and going here: http://cel.ly/verify . If you need to remove your phone number from your account entirely, please send us an email at support@cel.ly.

How do I turn off texts to my phone from Celly?
If you want to stop receiving Celly texts to your phone (SMS), you can text OFF to 23559 to turn off a specific cell, or, text STOP ALL to 23559 to stop receiving texts to your phone from all cells. You can also log into the Celly website, go to the cell page you want to turn off SMS texts for, and then click the orange "SMS on" button on the right side of that page to turn SMS off.

How do I send out a poll to my cell?
For a step-by-step guide for using Celly's polling feature, please go here: How To Send a Poll

IV. Additional Resources

Celly comes with a number of built-in tools that you can use for classroom scenarios and school communication. For more info on these tools please click the tool name to view the how-to guide.

Scheduled Messages

For further Information about using Celly, please see our: 

How To Guides
Celly FAQ
Education Page
Co-Founder Russell Okamoto's Letter To Parents 
and our Trouble Connecting Page if you are having technical issues using Celly and SMS texting. 
To Follow Celly News and Updates, visit our Blog, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook
You can also find us on Pinterest and Google+
Please don't hesitate to email us with any question you may have: support@cel.ly
We are always looking for more feedback and suggestions from teachers!

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