Classroom Review: Remind – Communication, Participation, Accountability.

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This year I was asked to lead a professional development lecture over the use of Remind.com in my program.  It was an incredibly rewarding experience as our teachers are now engaging with Remind.com.  Those individuals are seeing a change in the form of accountability and responsible communication with our students.  So below is my story about why I believe Remind.com should be at the top of any educational technology software list, and how it has affected our school and my program.

As an educator of a communications media class, I study new forms of communication daily.  It’s borderline obsessive.  I wear a lot of hats in my school.  Cheerblock advisor, speech team coach, student council sponsor, and a teacher just to name a few.  So there are plenty of opportunities to see the missteps in communications, as well as the challenges of communicating with students.  So I’ve always looked for opportunities in my tiny corner of the education hemisphere to engage and find accountability, without the fuss.  At least some of my colleagues agree that the breakdown of communication can come from the vast gap between a student, teacher, and parent interaction? Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.20.43 AM When I first heard about Remind.com, I was sitting with a friend discussing his new coaching gig.  He recently became the new girls soccer coach with schedules to juggle, student attendance, and parents meetings.  He did what every coach, teacher, or sponsor was doing at the time and gathered up personal phone numbers so that he could relay relevant information to the team and keep parents up to date.  So was the world a few years ago until my wife mentioned Remind.  No, I wasn’t fully sold at the time nor did I think it applied to me. But this past year when I was approached by other technology-minded people in the building about using Remind in my classroom and for my organizations I decided to give it another shot.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Remind.com offers many ways that improve communication with my students. Remind immediately gave me access to a communication “store front” the students already had access to.  No need for a second application, or learning a new skill set, texting was immediate.  Setting up an account was easy, quick, and painless.  Within a few minutes of throwing up premade instructions on the projector or handing out PDF instructional sheets, my students began showing up into the categories of “classes” that I had assigned.  That evening I sent out homework reminders, meeting times, even a photo I took of the class earlier in the day.  No worries about juggling personal numbers, or students having access to my personal information.  Using a pre-generated number, and a custom text message code I now had access to send out the information through a clean and easy group message from any device I was currently using. Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.22.33 AM I think that is what makes Remind so special.  Communication should be simple, and technology can sometimes scramble our perception of accountable communication.  With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram it is passive engagement.  Students see it, breeze through it, and maybe (if you’re lucky) it caught their attention.  With a text message sent on Remind.com, it becomes a complete personal experience.  Something that students are already familiar with.  After all, it is said that texting remains students number one form of communication.  You get to fill that gap of miss homework assignments, forgotten scripts and turned in forms all by setting up a simple Remind.com account. I’ll end with a personal story about how Remind, even to this day, is changing the way we enhance engagement.  Yesterday we elected a new Student Council.  We are six days from the end of school and time was running out on electing our executive council for the upcoming school year.  I had 5 minutes to take nominations, set up ballots, and find ways to take a fair and honest vote as most of the council was participating in another project in our building.  I sprang into action setting up a Remind.com group.  I then called them all down and had them sign up, which took minutes.  We then took nominations on the floor of the council meeting, spent a few minutes creating a Google form with candidates and positions, and posted the short link URL to the remind group.   Now every member had immediate access to the ballot, could vote from their phones.

An immediate solution to an immediate problem, which is what I hope Remind.com continues to deliver.