HOW IT WORKS
Athena's Workshop is a texting platform with safety and needs of instructors, parents, and students kept in mind. Students and parents need to communicate with instructors outside of classroom time to ask questions, provide updates, and get clarifications.
  • Instructors want to remind student about upcoming test and homework due dates.
  • Parents want to know how to help their children with their homework and improve test results.
  • Instructors want both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking parents engaged with their child's education.
  • Students will respond better using their preferred system of communication: texting.
  • Instructors are not comfortable having students know their cell phone number and possibly getting called at all hours of the day and night.
  • School administration should not be comfortable with student and instructors texting without supervision.

Athena's Workshop meets all these needs.

With Athena's Workshop, at no time will the instructor know a student or a parent's cell phone number when a parent or student sends, receives or replies to a text message. The student or parent will not know the instructor's cell phone number. Everyone will be identified only by their name.

A big advantage of Athena's Workshop over other systems is that we offer both group messaging so that a instructor can send out a class reminder, "Big test tomorrow, study hard" and individual messaging, so that a student can ask a question in reply, "Is the new material we went over in class on the test?" The instructor can reply to only that student, "No, that is next week's test, tomorrow is Chapter 7."

How Athena's Workshop helps outside of class communication


At the very beginning of the sign up process, a parent will be asked which language they want to receive messages, 1 for English or 2 for Spanish. For the parent that chooses Spanish, from that point onward, messages from the instructor will be translated from English to Spanish; and messages from the parent will be translated from Spanish to English for the instructor.

How Athena's Workshop helps the Spanish-speaking parent


For instructors, we have a message log that records all messages sent and received. The message log has both name and date sorting features so that text messages can be reviewed at a later date. School personnel will be able to review these logs in response to an intervention.

Instructors have the option of setting up virtual office hours so that they can choose when and how to receive text messages. The default is to receive them on their cell phone at any time. They can also choose to never receive text messages on their cell phones, and they will only receive them in the message log. Or they can use the virtual office hours feature to choose the specific hours that messages will be sent to their cell phone, and outside of those hours, messages will go the message log.

To start, use our free version, which is limited to 1000 messages per month. A instructor will need to create an account and then classrooms. Each class is randomly assigned a class code. For students all the codes start with an "S" and for parents or guardians class codes all start with a "P." Our website has instructions to help instructors sign up and start creating classrooms. Instructors can also download sign up instructions for both students and parents (in either English or Spanish). We care about parent engagement and COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protection Act) compliance. We require that students 12 and under have a parent also sign up to receive text messages. Students 12 and under will not get messages until a parent also has signed up. Students 13 and older may also choose to have parents sign up, but it is not required.

It is texting's immediacy and attention that makes our solution superior to others as uses the most inclusive, widely used platform, and used in all socio-economic groups. Education email open rates range from 7 percent to 46 percent at the high end. On the other hand, 97 percent of text messages are opened and read, making it almost guaranteed that the instructor's message about preparing for the big test will be read.