Tech Review: Remind

Remind is a website (or app) that lets you communicate with parents – straight to their devices. I have also had older students (you need to be 13, or have parent permission) who used it on their own devices. This is my second year using it.

Pros:

  1. quick and easy communication with families: you can use it as an app or website and you can send “announcements” to everyone, and parents choose how they receive it – push notifications from the app, text messages or e-mail
  2. a private message option: this allows for homework help, answering quick questions or clarifying something. Just this week I received a lovely message from a parent about how excited their child is about school and our class!
  3. no excuses: forgotten forms, unfinished homework or the dreaded “I didn’t know it was due”. By the end of my year, my grade 8s were saying “don’t you have remind?” when someone tried to give a horrible excuse.
  4. You can add multiple classes: you can add many classes, or just have one for your homeroom
  5. You do not give out or receive anyone’s contact information: it is all done through a website, or a code.
  6. Remind 101 gives you instructions to send home: you can send just a link, or they have a printable PDF version of the instructions which makes it SUPER easy for families to join.

Cons:

  1. you are limited to 140 characters in your “announcements” which usually leads to me sending more than 1 a day, which is not ideal. I try to group things (homework in one announcement, reminders in another)
  2. Parents and students can message you at anytime, and often feel like you should respond right away. I told my students (and parents) that I will not answer past 9pm (teachers have gotta sleep!) and that I may not respond on weekends. There is an option to turn the private messages off, but I prefer to have it on and to set boundaries.
  3. It keeps families up-to-date about routines/up coming events: a little too up-to-date, I had one parent get quite upset with me when I forgot to mention a concert until a week before. They feel very connected which is great, but it does put pressure on you to be on top of everything, and to remember to send an announcement!
  4. It does not keep families up to date about how their child is doing: there are other things you can use to share marks or work with parents – but remind is not the best tool for that job.

I have really liked using this app. I use it in conjunction with Google Classroom and a class website, but it is great for quick reminders or messages. I chose to use this app again this year because I like the ease of use, the short announcements and quick contact with students or families if necessary. I never use it to communicate with parents about serious or problematic things, but I have used it to set up meetings or phone call times.

I highly recommend it!

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