Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.
Have you ever wanted to be able to keep in touch with parents about their student, all without revealing your personal contact information? Have you wanted to share reminders about trip dates, homework, tests, and more?
Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Remind
First, the basics:
Name: Remind (Formerly Remind101)
Cost: FREE (with options for paid school & district plans)
Problem this tool solves: Lets you keep in touch with parents and students via email, app, or text message without giving away any personal contact information.
Many times teachers, coaches, club advisors, and more want to keep in touch with parents or students. They might want to share deadlines, upcoming events, or important information. However, they want to do this without giving away any personal contact information. Do you find yourself wanting to do this as well? Then read on!
Remind is a text messaging application that is completely free, and allows teachers to communicate with students and parents, without any need for personal information. Teachers can message individual people, send announcements to the whole class, or start a group discussion (if settings are enabled to allow this). Messages can be received via the website, email, or text message, making it easier to connect with your community where they are.
The first step is to go the Remind website and create an account. If you are part of a Google school, you can easily connect your Google account to the service. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be taken to your dashboard. Of course, if nothing is there, it will be empty. Once you have classes set up, the first class will show by default, and you can select the other classes as you need them:
It’s time to get rid of that empty dashboard. First, click on “Create a Class” on the left side of the screen. A window will pop up, and ask you to provide some basic details about the class. Give the class a name, create a class code (or use the default one provided), and connect the class to a school. If the class is not part of any school, simply select the “Not affiliated” option in the menu. Agree to the terms, and then create the class.
On the next screen, you can go ahead and add people to your class. You can enter email addresses or phone numbers. If you don’t yet have contact information, or you would rather give your class a code, then explore the other options presented, such as printing a PDF file, telling parents to text the class code to a number, or emailing the code to a group of people. If you prefer not to do anything at this time, simply close the window.
Congratulations! You’ve created your first class, and perhaps added some people to it. Now it’s time to take a look at how to change message settings and send messages to your group.
First, we’ll need to customize your message settings. To access the settings, you can either click the circle with your last name initial in the upper left corner, or check the initial welcome message for the class. There’s a link to message settings there.
Change the types of notifications you receive, and the numbers/email addresses used. If you don’t people to reply to your messages, you can activate this option here, as well as choose to receive copies of class announcements. Please note that whatever you change on this screen applies to ALL classes you have created.
Now let’s modify the settings for the class you just created. Return to the dashboard for the class, and click the gear icon in the upper right corner. You can edit the information about a class at any time, and even add more owners to the class. You’ll now notice an option for people in the class to be able to message each other. You’ll want to uncheck this box if you do not want this feature enabled.
You can send a message directly to everyone in the class from the dashboard of the class by clicking in the message box at the bottom of the screen. You can also send a message by clicking the blue pencil icon by messages. If you click the pencil icon, you’ll see options to send a class announcement, start a group conversation, or send an individual message.
Once an option is selected, a new box will appear on the screen. You can create a message, and even translate it into over 70 different languages. There are also options to add files, images, and video to the message. Messages can be sent right away, or scheduled to be sent at a future date. Very handy for scheduling important dates in advance!
Finally, you’re set! Enjoy Remind, and connecting with all of your parents and students, without the hassle of dealing with personal information.
Worried about how Remind complies with various guidelines and regulations? Check out this link. Remind has provided information to help put one’s mind at ease!
Not in the classroom? You may still find Remind to be a useful tool. I am part of the Remind group for #wvedchat on Twitter. I’ve signed up via text, so whenever there is an upcoming edchat, I’ll get a reminder to my phone about the date, time, and topic.