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?