Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of educational applications, tools and websites coming out seemingly each week? Even as an avid user of technology in and out of the classroom, I feel the same way sometimes. With working long hours during the day, and often grading homework, quizzes or exams after school, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the new technology coming out. Even so, because I am so interested in technology, and love the excitement of trying out new ICT tools, I still manage to have a look at the latest educational websites a few times a week. While the majority of the websites that I scroll through don't particularly interest me, or fit in with the age group of my students, once in a while I will come across something that amazes me, and most recently it was Remind101.
Remind101 is a website that allows you to send safe text messages to students and parents for free. To get an idea of how it works, check out the video below. After that, I will tell you why it has become useful for us.
For the past three years, my colleague and I have been strong believers in and users of Edmodo. We introduce it to our students on the very first day of school, and thereafter it becomes the 'go to' place for information about our program. We post all of our assignments and projects there, as well as any other day-to-day information, pictures or links that we want to share with our students.
The reason I am mentioning this is because, even though we stress the importance of checking Edmodo everyday to our students, after the first few months of the school year, many of them stop. Despite Edmodo having an app that is available for both Apple and Android devices, some students just can't be bothered. Therefore, they often miss out on important information that my colleague and I share after school. This is where Remind101 comes in handy for us.
With Remind101, we can send simple reminders to students via text message. Our students, who are either 14 or 15 years old, are on the mobile phones all day long. They can't live without them, even for just a few hours. So, if there is something important we need to share with them after school, we can do it through Remind101. The benefits for us are twofold. The first being that none of our students can say that they didn't check their phones, or didn't receive a text message. The second is that Remind101 saves all of your sent messages. Thus, even if a student tries to say that he/she didn't get the message, you can show them via the website. In other words, it becomes a way, like Edmodo, to cover you back if you are ever in a sticky situation with a student or parent.
Signing up to the site is a snap...
1. Register your class with the website at www.remind101.com.
2. The site will give you a phone number and a code for your students to sign up with.
3. The next time you meet with your students, tell them to send a text message to that number with the code in the text body, like pictured above.
(Note: The website is based in the U.S. So, if you teach in a different country, your students need to put +1 before typing the given phone number.)
4. Remind101 will then send a reply to your students asking for their name and surname. They simply have to reply to that message, and they are signed up!