Remind101 App

 

I am across something interesting today that peeked my interest. I came across this app for both Android and iPhone called Remind101. Usually, I’m all for using technology in the class, but I have mixed feelings about an app like this. I can see both good and bad things about this app. It can be very useful for the teacher-parent communication aspect. At the same time, I see it as a crutch on the teacher-student communication aspect.

According to the description in iTunes, Remind101 is a “safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents”. With this app, teachers never see the student’s number and students don’t get the teacher’s number. The teacher can send a mass text to either the class or the parents at one time. There aren’t any ads, it’s free, and you can send unlimited text messages.

One the teacher-parent side, I can see it being very useful. Teachers can text the parents as reminders for things such as open house (which their kids may not have told them), big assignment deadlines, and even behavioral issues. Parents could use to notify the teacher that their child is sick (not sure if this actually would happen) or that they are running late for a teacher’s conference. I definitely see the importance for the teacher and the parents to communicate.

However on the teacher-student side, I am having trouble seeing the true benefits. One the description, it was mentioned that students could receive text messages saying their assignment is due the following morning or that their test is on Monday. I feel that this not helping the students. I remember when I was in school and we didn’t have text messages. We honestly couldn’t even have our phones on. Our only reminder was when the teacher mentioned it…..in class! If we forgot, o well. I think that being doing this, it’s taking away the student’s responsibility of writing down their homework and deadlines. At least in my way of thinking, I would figure what’s the point of coping down the assignment when my teacher will text it to me.

Overall, I’m still on the fence on this. Again, it would be great from the teacher-parent standpoint but for the teacher-student aspect, I can’t get past my feelings. Hopefully, someone can help me “see the light”.

https://www.remind101.com/

 

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15 thoughts on “Remind101 App

  1. Kia,
    I understand your reasoning for mixed feelings on the part of the student, and in my opinion, a lack of responsibility is a serious problem for students, however, if the goal of education is to better prepare students for the “real world” a reminder text message seems reasonable. While keeping an organized schedule is a tool we should teach our students, successful study habits and assignment completion is our number one goal. If apps like these get students to actually do their homework, I say all the power to them!
    Thanks for the awesome resource
    -Cindy

    • Cindy,
      I can see your point of view. I guess I still want some responsibility to rely on the students. It’s kinda of the same concept of the fact that because of technology, many kids can’t write in cursive anymore. Some things are still important and technology shouldn’t have to take away everything. It’s one thing for the student themselves to use an app to remind them of something. They are still being held responsible. It’s another thing for someone else to program it in there for them. Make sense? Thanks for the response!

  2. Kia,

    Like you mentioned in your post, “I definitely see the importance for the teacher and the parents to communicate. However on the teacher-student side, I am having trouble seeing the true benefits.” I also think that the Remind101 app is an excellent tool that will make teachers’ lives easier, especially in keeping up the communications channels open with parents. I also understand your concerns about the fact that it will take away some of the students’ responsibilities towards their academic commitment as they will probably begin to rely (a little too much) on teacher’s text reminders to do their work. So, I agree on this matter with you; students should learn to keep up with important dates and assignments’ deadlines because it is part of their duties as learners. In addition, keeping up with their own schedules will teach them time management skills that are critical to learn as they become responsible adults.

    However, I would not mind using the Remind101 app to communicate with parents. I have experienced difficulties reaching parents via the phone in the past, and it can become frustrating. So, I am all in for using this app to communicate with my students’ parents regarding scheduling parent-teacher conferences, discussing their child academic progress and/or behavior issues for example, but most of all I would love to start using it to send them a text message praising their child’s outstanding job sometimes.

    I enjoyed reading your post Kia, and thank you for sharing this information with us.

    Regards;

    Hasnaa

    • Hasnaa,
      I definitely see the perks of using it to communicate with parents. If I was going to use the app, that’s what it would be used for. I wouldn’t use it to remind students of their assignments. I agree with you that by doing so would hinder the students to learn time management. I’m all for it being used to communicate with parents, just not with the students in that sense. I’m not sure how it would be used on the student-teacher aspect, which is why I’m on the fence. Great response!
      Kia

      • Kia,

        Thanks for the follow up. I totally understand your position in regards to student-teacher text messaging usefulness. Hopefully, we can get a convincing answer for this question soon 🙂

        Hasnaa

  3. Kia said, “Remind101 is a ‘safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents’”

    I had not heard about Remind 101 before reading your post. It sounds like it could be a very useful tool for teachers to stay in touch with students and parents. However, I believe this application should only be used with those families that would agree to participate. I am a firm believer in “not bothering people” and in my experiences there are some parents who are very involved in their student’s education and then there are those that would rather not be involved at all. The latter group of parents should be more involved but if they do not want to be, I cannot make them. I have a very good friend who teaches first grade. Every year before school starts she calls all her student’s parents to introduce herself and find out if there are any issues (food allergies, learning requirements, etc.) that she needs to know about their child. One year she called a family and the mother yelled at her saying, “why are you calling me already? My son hasn’t even been in school yet, he can’t have done anything wrong already!” Well, that obviously did not establish the best home-school connection and she was hesitant for the rest of the year to contact this mother at all. My point is that some parents just don’t want the contact (and that is their choice), but in my experience, most parents would welcome this tool and I believe it would foster a deeper home-school connection.

    Kia said, “I definitely see the importance for the teacher and the parents to communicate.”

    Yes, communications between teachers and parents is crucial to building and maintaining a “well oiled” classroom. I have found that if the parents are involved in their child’s life and care about what is happening in the classroom the child is a lot more likely to do well. Parents establish their children’s view on education’s importance. If the parents believe education is important, the student will actively try harder to do well in the classroom; whereas, if the parent does not value education and the child is constantly hearing about how “learning is useless”, the student will not do as well. By using an application such as Remind 101 we are able to involve the parents in their child’s education so they may demonstrate how important it is to them as well as us that they do well.

    Kia said, “I think that being doing this, it’s taking away the student’s responsibility of writing down their homework and deadlines.”

    I am all for supporting student learning, but how much support is too much support? There have been those in the education field who say we are fostering a generation of “coddled” students. Encouraging student’s success and providing resources to assist with this success are very important to fostering advanced individuals. However, two skills teachers are supposed to help students learn (at least in the early years) are good study skills and appropriate note taking skills. Without study and note taking skills early on, the student will not be able to succeed in high school or college. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I did not write down important deadlines I have in the future. What would any college class be like if I did not learn how to look at a syllabus and note when the various week’s assignments were due? How would I know when my doctor’s appointments were if I did not write them on a calendar? My world would be chaos. Yes, providing learning support for students by reminding them of impending deadlines is helpful but not when it takes away from fostering appropriate life skills.

    Kia said, “Hopefully, someone can help me ‘see the light’.”

    I don’t know if I can “help you see the light” or not, but I can say that I found your insights helped me “see the light” from a different perspective. Before reading your blog about Remind 101, not only did I not know this application even existed, I did not know how it could be used in the classroom. You made several excellent observations about its usage that deserve further thought. I feel that any application that will increase communication and foster a more closely knit parent-student-teacher circle of influence is beneficial and deserves a further look. I am glad you took the time to give this application a deeper analysis. Although I have never used this application, I am now considering “trying it out” in the future. I think that as long as it is not overused (texting all the time, for every assignment or little concern the teacher may have) and it is used with parents and students who genuinely care about the education you are delivering in your classroom, it will be a wonderful resource to “stay in touch” and foster a well-connected classroom.

    It was a pleasure reading your blog posting,
    Thanks for the insights,
    Dawn

    • Dawn,
      Thanks for replying. It’s sad that your friend had to deal with that parent in that manner. I’m glad that you can find some use for it personally. I do agree with you when you said that it’s to the discretion. No one wants their personal time taken away. You made some great points!
      Kia

  4. This is a great post, Kia! I think the app is a great idea, and very interesting! I can see how you may be a bit weary of teachers using this app to communicate with parents and other students though. This digital world we live in today is ruled by technology, and technology is constantly creating new means of communication for us to use. This app is just one of many means of communication available for teachers to use.

    When it comes to elementary students, they don’t always keep track of their work too well. Many teachers have class websites for parents to check the work that their children are expected to complete. This app seems like an easier way for parents to help keep their students on track. This is one reason why I think the app is a good idea.

    Then again,I see what you mean when you say that this app may not be suitable for some younger elementary children to use, because we want to instill in them the importance of keeping up with their schedule. We need to teach students to be responsible for knowing their assignment. However, once students have learned how to keep track of their work, do you think it is ok to use this app as a reminder for older students? For example, When students are in high school they have numerous classes and assignments to keep track of. Having this app could reinforce their own scheduling, and allow them to keep track of their busy schedules. What do you Think?
    -Lisa

    • Lisa,
      Great response. To answer your questions, I guess I would have to stick with me original thought of it not being suitable for teacher-student communication. It’s definitely hard for me to visualize a teacher texting their class about assignments. While I understand where this generation is going in regards to technology, I also see this generation losing things that are important, like time management. Heck, some adults don’t even have that lol. If the teacher wants to put that aspect in their classrooms, that’s their prerogative. However, I would only use it as a teacher-parent source of communication.

  5. Kia,

    I have never heard of an app that allows you to text with parents and students before! In theory this sounds like a great idea and would help increase communication between teachers, parents and students. As an elementary teacher this wouldn’t be beneficial to my students because only a few actually have cell phones. As for parent-teacher communication it would be a convenient way for parents to quickly get messages to me instead of e-mailing or calling the office. As a teacher it would be one more way to keep up with communicating with parents. I already do a great deal of e-mail communication with parents and this would definitely add one more thing to my plate. I also worry that on days when I accidentally forget my phone and parents send me a message I would have no way of getting it until I get home. I am definitely curious to look more into it to find out if teachers are using it, how they are using it and how effective they have found it to be.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Melissa Asmus

    • Melissa,

      I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I didn’t think about the “forgot my phone” aspect of it. I guess these are the times we are in now. We feel lost (literally) without our phones. Maybe having this app as a backup plan and instead use something like a website or wiki to do the main communication. That is a very good point!

      Kia

  6. Kia-

    I can see your dilemma with using this app, as I would have the same. I beleive this app could be beneficial when it comes to communicating with parents and keepig them updated on what is going on in the classroom, but at the same time, how do you document the contact if an issue were to arise. There have been times when it is necessary to “backup” documented contact with a parent for liability reasons or proof that a parent was communicated with on certain issues. For instance, I have a parent that has on many occassions tried to “bend” the truth this year about communication and each time I have been able to back myself up with copies of e-mails or notes written in the planner. Is this possible with remind101?

    Also, I see your dilemma with notifying students of assignement due dates and assessment times. I believe that there comes a time in a students life where they need to take control of their own learning and become responsible for their own due dates and studying. I teach 1st grade and begin the year by emphasising it is the students responsibility to make sure their planner is signed each night and that they are responsible for bringing their materials to an from school, not that of their parents. By sending constant reminders of when things are due, I believe the task of being responsible for ones self is lost.

    For me, the jury is still out, but I appreciate you giving me something to ponder and explore further this weekend!

  7. Hi Kia, and friends!

    Just read your post and all the great comments. I think it’s fantastic and well thought! It’s always important to be asking these questions, and I’m glad to see this conversation happening.

    I’m Christine, and I run the marketing for Remind101.

    I hope it’s okay to add a few thoughts to your discussion…

    I think one crucial thing to note is that “when” and “about what” a teacher chooses to use Remind101 for is completely their prerogative. I hear from teachers who use Remind101 just to message parents, just to message students, or to do both. The messages they send, and the frequency at which they send them, also fall all over the board. Some teachers use Remind101 for homework and exam reminders, some use them just to send out fun facts, study tips, to let the class know how well they are doing, or to announce schedule changes, or last minute reminders to bring a certain book/tool to class that day…and this just names a few. The Remind101 tool is not married to being a “homework reminder tool”. In fact, we believe it’s true value is far beyond that…

    A recent study done by two Harvard graduate students found that consistent communication with students and their families, outside the classroom, increases students participation in class, their homework completion rate, and their ability to remain on-task, regardless of the types of messages teachers were communicating with. Just the act of communicating outside school increased overall motivation.

    Their results found that added communication:

    – Built stronger teacher-student relationships
    – Expanded parental involvement in students studies
    – Increased students motivation in school

    Grad students Kraft and Dougherty specifically found that, Teacher-family communication:

    – Increased the odds that students completed their homework by 40%.
    – Decreased instances in which teachers had to redirect students attention to the task at hand by 25%,
    – Increased class participation rates by 15%

    In the teams interviews with the treatment group following the study, they learned that teachers felt that calling and texting home, “foster(ed) a better rapport”, “heightened our relationship” with students, and “helped them to be more effective at classroom management and behavior modification.”

    At Remind101, we want to provide teachers with a tool that will gain them those benefits while remaining easy and safe to use. So we hope that all teachers will consider Remind101 for the value it adds to their relationship with their students and parents.

    Having said that, many teachers who are using the tool specifically to keep students on task with assignments and exams have raised the same questions you have about whether or not they are babying, or providing a crutch, to students. But at the end of the day, they usually find that with or without the added text, it’s still the students responsibility to get things done, to study, and to show up. It’s not so different than providing students with a planner at the beginning of the year (which is how it was done when I was in school). It’s still their responsibility to use the tool to succeed.

    I’d love to talk more, answer more questions, or hear more thoughts! If anyone would like to email me I can be reached at: christine@remind101.com

    Thanks again for having this conversation!

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