FREQUENTLY ASKED
What is Athena’s Workshop? Athena’s Workshop’s solution is a secure internet software system using cell phone texting that improves classroom instructor-to-student and instructor-to-parent communications and empowers parents of all socio-economic backgrounds to actively engage in their child’s education. The Athena’s Workshop solution maintains privacy of cell phone numbers and provides opportunities for parents and administrators to monitor communications for appropriateness and for instructors to keep records necessary to respond to interventions.

How does Athena’s Workshop work? An instructor will create an account and establish classes. Each class will be assigned a random class code. The instructor will give students and parents both the Athena’s Workshop phone number and the class code. Simply send a text message with the class code to Athena’s Workshop phone number and follow the instructions for each text message. You will receive a final confirming text message.

How could my instructor use it? Your instructor could send out group messages such as:
“Big test tomorrow, unit 7”
“Don’t forget the field trip form is due on Friday.”
“Homework, chapter 5, problems 1 to 20”

What if I have question about the homework? Send the instructor a reply text message and the instructor will get it, without also getting your cell phone number. You will be identified only by your name.

How does your free option work? Just like the others, except that you are limited to 1,000 text messages a month.

How do you count text messages for your free option? We count them the same way the carriers do. If you send a text message to your class of 30, that is 30 text messages. If 12 parents reply to your message, that would be an additional 12 messages. If you them reply to all 12 messages, you have used a total 54 messages. A message that is translated from English to Spanish or Spanish to English is counted as two messages. You are limited to 500 translated messages, 1,000 English messages or any combination that equals 1,000 messages a month.

How much does it cost? The school buys Athena’s Workshop unless they are using Athena’s Workshop as part of an official research project. Standard texting rates apply for students, parents and instructors to receive or send messages from their cell phone.

How much will parents pay? Standard text messages rates will apply unless the cell phone has an unlimited messaging plan.

How many accounts does my school need? One per instructor.

I’m a parent. Can the instructor see my phone number? No. The instructor will not see your cell phone number. The instructor will see your name.

Why would we need Athena’s Workshop when we can just text message directly? Athena’s Workshop keeps your phone number private and Athena’s Workshop also creates a message log of all text messages so that they can be reviewed for appropriateness and in response to an intervention.

Why not use Twitter? Twitter does not create a message log so that they can be reviewed later and Twitter does not maintain a walled garden so that only students, parents and instructors can communicate with each other. Twitter allows messages to be forwarded on to others.

How do students/parents sign up? Ask the instructor for Athena’s Workshop’s phone number and your class code. Text the code to Athena’s Workshop’s phone number and follow the instructions in text messages. You will receive a confirming text message at the end.

Will students see my number? No. All student, parent, or instructor’s phone numbers will NEVER be revealed, only your name.

Do I need a smart phone? No. Athena’s Workshop works on any cell phone that is text enabled, basic feature phone or smart phone.

Can parents reply? Yes. The beauty of Athena’s Workshop is that parents or students can reply in same way they currently text back, but their phone number will not be used, only their name.

Are class codes case-sensitive? No.

Does Athena’s Workshop have a smart phone app? We are building one now and hope to have it available by July 2015.

How do students or parents opt out of receiving messages? Students or parents should send a text back “Stop.” The instructor can edit each student’s profile to delete the student and the student or parent will no longer receive messages.

As an instructor, how many classes can I add? You can add as many classes as you want to with our plan.

Do you support international messaging? Unfortunately, we only support US texting.

Will Athena’s Workshop share my phone number? Our policy is to not reveal phone numbers of students, instructors, administrators or anyone else signed up to Athena’s Workshop.

I’m a parent and want to use Athena’s Workshop but my facility isn’t using it yet. When can I do that? The instructor must first create an account. After that is done, you can sign up by texting the class code to the Athena’s Workshop phone number and following the instructions.

The cell phone coverage in our building is very poor. Fortunately, it does not matter. You can send and reply to messages from the website portal that you can access from your computer. Parents receive messages where they are located, which probably is somewhere else with better coverage.

Our program is very small. It does not matter how many students you have. Our platform works with large or small groups.

Do you or will you in the future sell or reveal my telephone number? No. Not now and not in the future.

Can my child’s teacher just add my cell phone to the list? No. America is an opt-in only country, so all recipients of text messages must choose to receive them. That law is to protect you, the consumer, from telemarketers and spammers. Obviously we do not want to be associated with unwanted messages, so we require that you personally send a confirming text message or sign up directly from your cell phone.

My child is 12, why do you require me, the parent, to also sign up? As part of our COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protection Act) compliance procedure, we require that parents of children younger than 13 also receive all messages. This federal law is to protect young children and make sure that parents are aware of their child’s online activity. If your child is older than 13, parental sign-up is optional.

I have more questions. Send an email to business@athenasworkshop.com, or call 703.615.4429.

I found a bug. Send an email to tech@athenasworkshop.com, or call 703.615.4429.