Let’s face it, students do not check their email every day. How would you like a way to connect with your students in real-time? I discovered Remind a few years ago and since then, it has been incorporated into all of my courses. Remind.com began as a safe way for K-12 teachers to communicate information to students and parents. In the beginning, Remind would only allow only one-way communication from teacher to student/parent. In the last few years, the developers at Remind have expanded the app’s capabilities. An instructor can attach files, see who has read their messages, and coordinate activities.
I started using Remind in 2012 and the students that use it, love it, now they ask for the codes to opt-in. Trust me, your students will love it too. Remind is easy to use, even for non-techies. It only takes a few minutes to set up each course, add in the due dates for major assignments, homework, or even field trips. Once I have created my syllabus and course calendar, I use it as a guide to adding the information to Remind. Once class starts, the students have the syllabus and they can opt-in to Remind. The students that opt-in get the reminders to their phones via text message or email (most prefer text messages). It has increased my ROTI, Return on Time Invested.
I have convinced a few colleagues to try Remind and most like it as much as I do. But, there are always some “Negative Nellies” in the bunch. I get the usual stuff like, “They already have the syllabus,” or “You are coddling them too much,” and the one I like the most is, “There is no Remind in the real world!” What world do they live in? I always ask them if they write down stuff on their calendars or put appointments on their phones, it’s the same thing! We have just moved into the 21st Century…. Ha! The bottom line is that I want my students to be successful and Remind is another tool that helps to make that happen. You too can use Remind to engage your students at another level and increase their opportunities for success.
Here are the three reasons why you should consider adding Remind to your arsenal.
Reason 1: Communicate with students in real-time
Remind allows you to create short messages and send them to your students immediately. Your students do not have to log into their email account to check messages, they get them as texts. When situations change, as they sometimes do, you can update the students in a few seconds. For example, when we have to change classrooms I can send a quick message with the new room number.
As a bonus, Remind affords you the opportunity to send a class short, quick messages of encouragement throughout the semester. I feel that it connects me with the students and keep them engaged. As we all know, the more engagement we have with our students, the better.
There is a Remind app that you can download to your phone (iOS and Android) that makes selecting a class and sending a quick message simple.
Reason 2: Schedule reminders for the entire semester
The Remind interface lets you set up reminders for the entire semester at one time. The system that works for me (after discussing with previous students) is to set a reminder a week before the assignment is due, then another the day before. In addition to the syllabus and you telling them in class, the student has several prompts to get the work done on time. Just set’em and forget’em!
Reason 3: Students can opt-in or opt-out at any time
After you set your courses up, Remind provides a code for each one. You give this code to the students if they desire to get reminders. If you do not feel like writing, Remind has handy-dandy PDFs that you can print out, upload to your course, or display in class. I do the last two. I upload the sheet to our LMS in the specific course so the students can opt-in at any time during the semester. On the first day of class, I display the sheet on the board and give the students a few minutes to text the code to Remind. This allows me to send a test message while in class to check whether the students entered the code correctly and then address any problems. It takes less than ten minutes.
Think of the reminders as little nudges or prompts. We give students a number of assignments throughout the semester to promote learning or reinforce what we have taught in class. If Remind can increase the amount of learning activities that the student completes and supports persistence, we all win. Head over to Remind.com and get started today.
Bonus Use: You can also use Remind to keep in contact with and engage the members of a student organization.
What app(s) have you used or currently use that make your job easier? Tell me in the comments below so that I can add them to my teaching arsenal.