“How can I bring technology into my classroom?”, This is the question I am asked most often at the beginning of each school year. My answer is always the same, Remind. Now some of you reading this may have encountered this tool before, when it was named, Remind 101. This tool lost 101 in its title and has developed into a substantially more versatile tool for the classroom teacher.
At its most basic Remind is a simple tool that allows teachers to communicate with their students via text message or email. The service does not give either party access to the other parties phone numbers or email address. Messages are limited to 140 characters. The tool is web based and has supporting apps for Android and Apple devices. Remind also allows the (teacher) user to schedule when messages will be send. It is very easy to duplicate a message and send a reminder message at a later time. I use it as a weekend homework reminder, or test reminder. Remind also allows the user to attach documents such as Pages, Word, or PDF files to a message. When the message arrives at a student’s phone or computer the document can be viewed on the device this is a great step toward eliminating paper handouts from the classroom. Remind also allows the user to send out brief voice reminders with the text or email alert. While I haven't found this particularly useful, I am sure some teachers can find a use for it in their classrooms. It seems like a great tool for quick supportive messages before a test or project is due.
Finally, Remind allows the user to “stamp” a message. “stamps” are essentially interactive messages that a teacher can use to pose a question to a class and get instant feedback from the students in the class. This is also useful for communicating with a group of parents, think RSVP to a field trip. In my opinion, this is the feature took the 101 out of Remind and made it a tool that is useful inside and outside the classroom. As a teacher in a mixed platform school Remind allows me to efficiently communicate with my students regardless of their preferred mobile platform. I am also able to communicate directly with parent and not worry about giving away my personal phone number or email address. Remind’s integration of Android and Apple applications also simplifies communication regardless of the device preference of the students and parents allowing a teacher to overcome one of the major obstacles teachers in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) school encounter everyday.
Remind is a wonderful tool for the classroom. One of the most important, and difficult tasks that a classroom teacher faces is effective and timely communication between the classroom and students/parents. Remind simplifies this communication process. I have always found that clear communication prevents most conflicts between a teacher and a student/parent. I am also a fan of anything that saves me time, Remind is simple and I can send a message or file from any of my devices.
As an interactive communication device remind allows me to replace those old out of date Senteo clickers with much more efficient devices called cell phones. No more hassle involved with signing out the one set that your school owns. The cost saving is also astronomical, currently a set of Senteo clickers (32 clickers, one receiver, caring bag, and software) costs $1,299.00 on Amazon. The shipping is only $4.99 by the way. Of course you could just use remind and it would cost you nothing.
What you get:
To put it simply, you get it all, and it is all free. Remind provides the users with a safe communication system that keeps a record of when you communicated with your students. A delivery system for documents, and a replacement of Senteo clickers that you never have to sign out or wait to access. What have you got to lose here? Your students all have smart phones. You can always call the students’ phones Mobile Learning Devices if your school currently has a ban on cell phones. Why not use these smart phone them as a learning tool instead of letting them turn into a classroom distraction.