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Fancy new logo finally went up in the office entrance today - Welcome to Remind101! #decorating (at Remind101 HQ)
I always love making new friends on Twitter. Recently I got connected with Chris Stanley, an English and 21st Century Literacy Teacher at Fraser High School in Fraser, Michigan.
I knew Chris and I would be fast friends when I saw him use, “FOR-EV-ERRRRR”, in a tweet. (Reminiscent of The Sandlot scene when Squints tells the story about The Beast, anyone?)
Chris has been using Remind101 with his kids for some time and finding great use for it. I asked him if he would write a guest post for us on his use of Remind101:
I am lucky enough to work in a school that provides a tablet to every single student in the district. As a high school teacher, the use of these devices has certainly changed and enhanced the way I teach on so many levels. The lack of communication that was once lost between teachers and students have changed drastically, and our technology has eliminated the four walls of the classroom and opened it up to the world. However, as nice as it is knowing that all of my students have a tablet to enhance their learning, their cell phone continues to reign supreme. This is exactly why I have found Remind101 to be THE BEST way to contact my students and know that they are getting they information they need.
In a world that works around e-mails, our students have their phones in their hands at all times. My high school students haven’t yet wired their brains to constantly remind themselves to check their e-mail on a minute-by-minute basis as we adults tend to do, but they certainly check their phone every 30 seconds. This is why Remind101 has been the most successful reminder (hey…so THAT’S how they came up with that name!) to my students that I have ever used in my five years of teaching. I would have to say that the scheduling feature is a dream, as it allows me to set up texts to be sent to my students right around dinner time. Honestly, I have tried just about everything: a Facebook page, e-mail, phone calls home, but if I send them a Remind101 text at 5pm, they seem to respond better than anything else.
I also like the application for those “WHOOP! I forgot to tell them about THAT!” moments. I can’t even begin to explain how many times it has happened where my students have left my classroom, and I forgot to tell them something EXTREMELY important about their assignment (Ex: I accidentally gave you an assignment in Portuguese - so study up!) - this is where Remind101 is at its best.
We need to meet the students where they are! Honestly. Our students know their phones, and they respond to them as if everything is an emergency. Let them respond that way to YOUR messages! Rather than constantly fighting the fight of “what to do with these phones”, I love that we now have options. Let’s be friends with technology and create a better workflow opportunity - this is why I LOVE Remind101
Thanks Chris! You rock!
You can connect with Chris on Twitter @StanleyTeach, and check out his blog here.
We wish we could troll Pinterest for the best DIY gifts and make every teacher we’ve ever talked with an adorable present in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. But sadly, unless they involve 1’s and 0’s, arts and crafts are not our thing. So we’ll have to settle with a lot of virtual hugs and this honest message:
At Remind101, we go to work every single day feeling great. Not because we have a good product, or have great coffee (we do), but because we are tasked with the privileged mission to find ways to make the lives of teachers just a little bit better.
Teaching is the most admirable profession. Without teachers none of us would be here today. It is because of the guidance, support, and life lessons that come from learning that we’ve been able to grow into self capable individuals.
We respect you so highly! Few people have the skills, or the thick skin, to do what teachers do. Which is why, with undying respect for your career, we wanted to say that we find working for you to be the ultimate pleasure. (That’s right. You’re in charge of this company.)
From the Remind101 team to all our teachers, thanks for everything you do! But more importantly, thanks for inviting us to be a part of it.
We look forward to many more years as friends.
Lindsay giving IL teacher Kirk Humphreys a sneak peak at our new Android App designs on a Google Hangout! (at Remind101 HQ)
A day at Clintondale!
By Christine Garland
Many of you may have already heard of Clintondale HS. They were featured on CNN in a segment on flipped learning.
Clintondale High School is a flipped school in Clinton Township, MI. Before the term “flipped” had ever been coined, Principal Greg Green realized that the old way wasn’t working (a song we all know very well), and it was time to try something new.
Using TechSmith’s screen capture tools, Clintondale teachers began creating video lessons to be absorbed by students at home, and freed up classroom time for activities and assignments.
After flipping the ninth grade (their initial pilot grade), Clintondale’s student failure rate dropped by 33% in one year. In English, the failure rate went from 52% to 19%; in math, 44% to 13%; in science, 41% to 19%; and in social studies, 28% to 9%. So they flipped the entire school, and have remained “upside down” ever since.
Today the school is a mecca of enthusiasm for flipped learning.
I was lucky enough to be invited out to spend a day at Clintondale on a recent visit to Michigan. I’m proud to say Clintondale uses Remind101, and our relationship with the school has earned me many interactions with Greg over the past year. I’d been wanting to put together a video for Remind101 on how students and teachers have been using the service, and why they like it, and he graciously offered to serve up his school as my subjects.
I should mention - I’m personally a very big advocate of the flipped model. My passion for the change is a direct result of my own experiences falling behind as a student in a traditional learning environment. So when the chance came to both make my video, and experience a flipped school, I was eager for the opportunity.
My first reaction when I arrived at Clintondale was how very normal it was.
There are no 1-1 iPad classes, or even technology carts. Classrooms are not equipped with fancy interactive whiteboards or media stations. The school does not even have Wi-Fi.
None of which has kept them from flipping.
My second reaction was how proud the school was of their success. Teachers, students, and administrators were overjoyed to share the stories of their flipped classrooms.
My third reaction was probably the most important, I’d never seen so much engagement. Classrooms were bustling.
Teachers who had previously worried that they were being evaluated based on how much time they spent lecturing (because that was what a classroom “looked like”, right?), were now enjoying their day moving from table to table interacting with kids directly and experiencing the material in an entirely different way.
But the interaction didn’t stop at the teachers. The students were sharing, guiding and collaborating too. In one class students were put into groups that evenly distributed them based on their grades. Students with A’s were able to help struggling classmates by re-teaching the lesson, and in-turn benefiting themselves with a deeper understand of the material.
Unsurprisingly, the most common response I got from students when I asked if they liked being at a flipped school was that they loved not having homework.
Partaking in lessons at home doesn’t feel like work to them. It doesn’t involve the frustration that trying to complete a worksheet based off a lecture they hadn’t been able to follow used to cause. They repeatedly told me, “If I don’t get it, or I lose track of what the teacher is talking about, I just rewind.”
I’m so appreciative of the Clintondale community for hosting me for a day! The interactions continue to be inspiring.
Check out the fantastic video, filmed and edited by the exceedingly talented Colin Marshall and George Henry, that came out of my day at Clintondale!
Guest post by Ben Spieldenner, Intro by Christine Garland
Huge “THANKS!” to friend and teacher Ben Spieldenner for writing this guest blog post for us!
Moodle lovers - have you been struggling to get the Remind101 widget on your site and getting stuck with formatting issues? Have no fear, Ben’s blog post is here:
Since the advent of the Remind101 widget, I have been trying to figure out a way to incorporate it into the tech resources I use- namely Moodle. At first, I tried to create a “Block” for it on the sides of my Moodle pages only to discover just how frustrating Moodle can become (formatting never worked out well). So, I decided to try something different. I figured I would highlight the Moodle widget. In the hopes of making a few other educators’ lives a bit easier, I have a simple six step guide on how to effectively integrate the Remind101 widget into Moodle.
This tutorial will instruct you on how to post your Remind101 widget in the “topic” section of your Moodle page. Also, remember to do this for each and all of your Moodle pages.
Login and open up the Moodle page where you would like to post your Remind101 widget. Then click on the icon that looks like a hand with a pencil (see image below) in the heading of the “News Forum” (it will be the first topic). In the image below I renamed this section “Welcome.”
“Edit HTML Source”
Now click on the “HTML” button (see image below).
Open a new internet window, login to Remind101 and click on “My Widget” under “Account”
Copy the HTML widget code by highlighting the HTML text (see image below) and pressing CTRL+C on the keyboard (PC) or by right clicking the mouse and pressing “Copy” as you see below.
Paste widget code in “HTML Source Editor”
Go back to your Moodle window where your HTML Source Editor is still open. You may never have seen this before…it’s ok! All you have to do is paste the code you just copied at the end of any text you see on the HTML Source Editor (see image below). Simply place your cursor at the end of the text and press CTRL+V (PC) or right click on the mouse and press “Paste” to paste your code. Be sure to click on “Update” (green button on the bottom of the window) in order for your code to save.
Finally, click on “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page.
The Finished Product
You now have your Remind101 widget posted on Moodle!
If you run into trouble or have more questions, feel free to reach out to Ben on twitter!
Summer is approaching fast! Time for backyard bbq’s, block parties, family vacations, and ISTE 2013!
The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) is the world’s premier ed tech conference and exposition! Once a year, ISTE brings teachers from all over the world together for a 4 day, unforgettable, conference to collaborate with like-minded educators passionate about using technology to engage students.
If you haven’t been to ISTE before, this conference is truly amazing!
This year, the 4 day conference is happening June 23rd - 26th in San Antonio, TX.
We know that many teachers, and their schools, may want to attend ISTE, but don’t have the funds to cover the cost. So we’ve decided to do our part by offering to pay for the registration for one lucky person to attend the conference.
You can enter for your chance to win on our Facebook page.
We’re asking you share a photo on your timeline, and then leave a comment on the original photo about why you want to attend ISTE 2013 this year. We’ll choose one random winner at the end of the month, and cover their registration for the 4 day conference.
Already bought your ticket to ISTE 2013? Doesn’t matter! You can still win.
Afraid you wont know anyone? You can hang with Remind101 - we’re cool, I promise.
TIP: Remember to leave your comment on the original picture on our Facebook page timeline, and not the shared photo on your timeline, or we won’t see it.
ISTE 2013 will be in San Antonio, TX, June 23rd - 26th. For more details on the conference go to here.
Remind101 will cover registration fee only. Flight and hotel accommodations will not be covered.
Winner will be announced May 1st, 2013.
Intro by: Christine Garland, Guest post by: Jacqueline Roth
If you haven’t read my blog post from a couple weeks ago titled, “Should you worry that texting students is “hand holding”?”, I hope you have the chance to do so.
That post was in response to many conversations I’d been hearing, and having, with teachers and administrators regarding concerns that texting students reminders took away their accountability for success.
One teacher in particular inspired me to write that post, Jacqueline Roth, a High School teacher from GA.
Jacqueline shared with me that she had personally struggled with whether or not to add Remind101 to her classroom for the very reason described above. After considering both sides of the argument, she did end up implementing Remind101, and has been very happy with that decision. I found her story fantastic and asked if she would write a guest post to share with all of you why she believes it was the right communication move for her kids.
As you’ll see, her passion as a teacher is to prepare her students for life after her classroom, not just for their test on Friday:
As a high school literature teacher, I know all too well the difficulties in transitioning from middle to high school. In fact, I’ve found one of the primary issues freshman have is merely keeping up with all of their assignments. Day after day of witnessing this struggle, I wanted to find a solution that would produce the desired result of completed assignments, yet keep the students accountable without enabling them. As I shared my concerns with my mother, Dr. Billie Jean Holubz, who is an educator and a member of International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE), she introduced me to Remind101.
At first I was skeptical: Homework sent straight to the student via text? Is this making it too easy? Am I taking away all responsibility and enabling these kids? But then, as I mulled over these questions, I stopped to consider my most basic goal for my students: I want my students to successfully function in whatever they choose to do post-graduation. I know that in my own life, both personal and professional, I send and receive electronic reminders constantly throughout the day. Whether it is a text from my husband reminding me of a social obligation, or an email from a colleague reminding me of a parent/teacher conference, I am constantly in need of reminders to keep up with my busy schedule. Those reminders do not serve as a form of enablement, because I still have to follow through with my responsibility of preparing for the meeting and getting there on time. So it is with my students. When I send a text through Remind101 reminding my students of their upcoming test, they are still responsible for studying and showing up to take the test.
Let’s face it, our schedules are becoming increasingly busy with parent/teacher conferences, grading, lesson planning, and meetings. It’s not too different for our students either; they have a full load of classes, extra-curricular activities, and sometimes a part-time job. A quick text that says, “Don’t forget, your project is due Friday” does not enable the student, but rather simply remind them. The student is still responsible to complete the project and turn it in. So if you’re looking for a convenient way to remind your students of their upcoming assignments, yet still hold them accountable to complete their work, then give Remind101 a chance.
Lassiter High School
Thank you Jacqueline!
Interested in sharing your Remind101 story on our blog? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to: email@example.com
It is our job as a company to know the obstacles teachers face when communicating with their students and parents.
When I started to hear educators discussing whether using a texting service, like ours, was considered “hand holding” with students or not, I knew I had to take a step back, learn where the concerns were coming from, and how we could overcome them.
Educators are concerned that by texting information to students, we’re not teaching them how to organize.
I think it’s a very valid question to raise! One of the many tasks put on the shoulders of teachers is helping students develop into self-capable adults. As any teacher considers the adoption of our product, or any edtech product for that matter, they should always be asking, “what’s best for the kids.”
My first thoughts were obvious - don’t you hand out syllabuses? Write assignments on the board? Post information to class websites? How is that different?
But after talking to many administrators and teachers about this, what quickly became clear to me is that this conversation should never be about how you let your students KNOW what your expectations are. It should be about how the methods you use MOTIVATE students to want to succeed.
I could probably spend a 1/2 hr on Google and find over 50 resources confirming that engagement in school is directly related to a student’s motivation and sense of self-efficacy.
You can send students one text about their exam tomorrow, or you can send them 20. In the end, it is always the responsibility of the student to study.
The true value of our product has never been the content of the messages teachers are sending. It is the impact the direct communication has on the relationships teachers develop with their students, and their students families. Using texting as a communication tool increases a students feeling that their teacher is dedicated to their success. It literally has changed classrooms.
I asked for some help, and confirmation, from our fans on this topic. I needed more proof that I wasn’t just being overly optimistic. Here are some of the responses I received:
Kate Porter McCauley:
“I started using Remind101 this school year for each of my health classes, fitness PE courses, general PE courses, an entire high school group and my 9th grade class sponsor group. I have seen a huge change in my students participation in school wide activities/events and better return on assignments and event tickets being purchased.
At back to school night and conference meetings I’ve been thanked by parents for keeping them informed and questioned by others as to how to join. I truly believe this app is one of the reasons for the positive change in my classroom and school.
Students have thanked me for the reminders and informed me that they have reposted my text messages on social media sites to spread the word on upcoming events.
I myself receive text reminders regarding bill due dates, upcoming events, and news related information. Most people, including my students have a phone and often use texting as a quick form of communication. Remind101 is an additional tool to communicate with students and the school community. I do not view it as a form of hand holding my students. It is a quick and effective use of technology that increases student success in the classroom & involvement school and community events. I love anything that promotes student success and for me that’s what Remind101 is about! Thank you for helping me relate to my students and keep them informed.”
“Remind101 gives instructors and teachers access to a new communication method. If you consider it hand holding then we should also consider all communication methods between students and teachers “hand holding” The simple fact is effective communication between students and their teachers is key to the learning process.”
Dustin DuFort Petty
“I’m not an educator but I helped coordinate a tutoring program in Chicago’s homeless shelters for two years and I WISHED the teachers had used Remind101. You wouldn’t believe how many times students would come for help only to say “I can’t remember what the homework was.” It seems silly to me that anyone would say that texting students is “hand holding”. Shouldn’t we ensure that our students have every instrument for success?”
“Even as an adult, I get e-mail/text reminders about my bank account balance, when bills are due, how much of my data plan I’ve used, when people’s birthdays are, etc. How is that any different than having a way to communicate with my students? I chose to set up those reminders, just like students choose to sign up for Remind101 knowing it would be a tool they could use.”
Nicholas James Frank
“Give students every chance to succeed.”
“Remind 101 embraces changing technology and converses with students using one of today’s primary communication tools. It’s irresponsible to disregard the technology as hand holding when it can further student engagement, understanding, and encourage more personal responsibility.”
“Texting is no different than calendar reminders/emails sent by administrators reminding educators to attend meetings/events. It helps in increasing productivity and ultimately responsibility - isn’t that what we’re striving for in school?…life?”
We’d love to hear what you think - how is texting changing the motivation of your students? How do you overcome the concerns from yourself or colleagues about students being overly reliant on your messages?