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Use Remind101 to keep students informed

August 12, 2013

remind101

Remind101 is a simple, free, and safe service that lets instructors use a cellphone, website, or app to send a message to an entire class at one time. Remind students about project deadlines or materials they need for class, send motivational messages, notify students of room changes or cancellations – the list goes on. Instructors can create multiple classes, and there’s a widget that will list your reminders on a class blog or website.

The site has been popular for two years with K-12 teachers, who also use it keep in touch with parents. I doubt many college faculty members will put parents on their distribution lists, but they might include a tutor or advisor. Too many messages would become annoying to a college student, so Remind101 suggests that one a day is plenty. That’s just one of the tips on their teacher resources page, which also includes a “Teacher Toolkit.”

Students sign up for Remind101 by sending a text message or email – no need to visit a website or create an account. You never see student phone numbers – just the names they supply. Instead of your phone number, students see a local number generated by Remind101. Only the instructor can message the group, and the students can’t reply. All messages are saved in a log that can’t be edited or deleted – and Remind101 does not sell or share the data it receives. Personal information remains private and confidential.

The website is very helpful, with several PDF handouts that summarize the best ways to use Remind101. I tried the iPhone app and it is also very simple and clean. Instructions are available, although the service is incredibly easy to use. Some folks might argue that it doesn’t do much. I disagree. It does just the right amount and it does so very tidily.

Remind101 began at Michigan State University in 2009 when brothers Brett and David Kopf began to feel overwhelmed with their student workload. The service reported having over 200,000 users as of May 2012. Development was supported by the Imagine K12 incubator, the Silicon Valley ed tech accelerator that supported VideoNot.es, which was featured on this blog a few months ago.

Tip ‘o the hat to Kevin Abbott for sharing Remind101.

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