I’m Giving Away iPhones!

Just kidding, but I did use a screen shot of one.

I tweeted about this a few days ago, and I wanted to release the source code to all of you. This is a solution to a logistical problem I was having: My school has something called “Seminar.” It’s not a seminar at all, it’s basically just study hall while the other half of the school eats lunch.

I have been assigned about 20 bight shining cherubs to supervise during this blissful half an hour of each day. The problem is this: seminar time has become a catch-all for the extra stuff that kids, administrators, teachers, counselors, and clubs want to get done. This puts me, the “teacher” in the position of having to keep track of a whole bunch of people that need to go as many different places to do as many different things. When you’re responsible for people that are flitting about the building like reflections from a swimming pool, you tend to want to figure out a better system than just screaming to hills and hoping that the kids show up on someone’s attendance list. (Do I really care about what they do with their only free half an hour a day? No. Does our school’s insurance company? Yes.)

So I came up with this. It’s a texting system that sends mass text messages to people who sign up for a specific subscriptions you create. The system handles different users and their different lists. It works with all major cell phone carriers.

Fair Use? I'm not making money, Apple. I promise.

If you’re a software engineer or an otherwise actually trained programmer, you’re probably going to balk at a lot of the code, but hey, I’m a teacher with a programming habit, not the other way around. The program uses text files to keep track of information. Of course SQL would have been a fancier choice, but I wanted this be able to be used by as many people as possible, and most people have no idea what SQL is let alone what their login credentials are. So, text files it is.

The application is PHP and AJAX. You’ll need to run it on a PHP enabled web server. If you have a wordpress blog, you have this. Most school’s have a file server now, use that.

  1. Download the .zip file
  2. Place the unzipped folder on your web server
  3. Navigate to that folder in a web browser and the index file will load automatically.
  4. Create an account (the first account will set up a passkey for everyone else to use)
  5. Create a group
  6. Have your students sign up for that group
  7. Whammy, send them all a text message that is free and does not reveal your phone number

I’ve never provided software like this. Let me know if you all have questions, or if something unexpected doesn’t work.