This is the tenth and final post in my Summer Learning Series. These are short posts with tools, tips and resources for you to try something new this summer or something you can take to the classroom in the Fall. First was Collaborative Learning With Edmodo and then we followed up with Learning With Hashtags. Then we looked at TED Talks. We moved on to Twitter chats. Then we looked at some pretty neat things you can do with YouTube. Then we took a look at Diigo and how to curate the information you are finding this summer. Then we examined the things to consider if you want to use Twitter in your classroom or your school in the coming school year. Last week we examined a tool I can't live without, Evernote. Then we saw how we can automate the internet and take many of the tools in the Summer Learning Series to the next level with If This, Then That. Now we wrap up with a great way to keep your classroom in touch and on top of things with Remind101.
When I was teaching in the classroom I always had some trouble keeping in touch. It wasn't for a lack of effort. Whenever we had a project, homework, assessment or we needed something special for an experiment we were doing I would send home papers, put things on my website and make lists on the board in my classroom.
But let's face it.
The papers probably never made it home.
Hardly anyone was checking my website.
And there was always that prankster that erased the lists on the board.
If I was teaching today, there are loads of options now to bridge those communication gaps. Twitter and Facebook are 2 popular ways. But for some in our communities, they may not be connected that way.
Texting could work. So why don't you start your first day of school and put up your personal cell phone number on the board. Oh and they why don't you get the personal cell phone number of all your students.
What? That won't work?
Sure. In many places there are policies and rules that prevent that kind of information exchange. Hence the reason for, hands down, one of my favorite tools out there.
In its simplest form you create a free Remind101 account. You then are given a code and a number that your kids (and parents) use to sign up their cell phone number. Once registered, you can send those reminders, homeworks, and everything else via text message and you never see the phone numbers of the members of your groups and they don't see yours.
Pretty easy right?
There is so much you can do. Send reminders right away or schedule them for later. Even messages you already sent can be sent again just to make sure everyone has it.
They have apps for iOS and Android so parents and students never have to visit the Remind101 website to join your class and it makes it easy to keep track of all the messages.
Messages are one-way (Teacher to class) and no individual messages can be sent. So it makes it safe to use.
All messages are archived so if your district is like mine and you have to keep record of what you send you have it.
And one of the coolest features is the widget you can embed on your website. You may have some who don't want to opt-in to using their cellphone, they can still get all the info via the widget.
Do you have open house coming up? Go ahead and set up your class and have the information ready for students and parents to join. You can get a jump start on communicating even before the school year starts. Then you can stay in touch all year long, easily and simply, with Remind101.
cross posted at blog.web20classroom.org
Steven W. Anderson is the Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of Social Media in the classroom. Steven has been recognized with the NOW Award and the 2009 and 2011 Edublogs, Twitterer of The Year Award. In 2012 he was named an ASCD Emerging Leader. Read more at blog.web20classroom.org.