Allow me a little bit to provide some background on Remind101. The online resource at Remind101.com, and its associated app available for iOS and Android, allow teachers to send text message reminders to their students in a safe manner such that they do not need to see the students' personal cell phone number nor do the students need to see the teacher's personal cell phone number. If the recipient prefers, they can sign up for email reminders instead.
Teachers can individualize unique groups depending on grade level, class period, or even an organization they sponsor or coach. Students, parents, or colleagues are asked to send a simple text message to a predetermined phone number (which I learned from Remind101 customer support staff are now designed to select the area code closest to the user's location, somehow) and the message they send is a simple "@______" code. A message is returned to them, asking their full name, so that it can show up on the teacher's Subscribers list.
From there on out, the teacher can send messages instantly or schedule them to be sent at a preferred time, with a 140-character limit. One thing I learned by experience is that if a URL link is included in the message, a URL-shortening feature is applied (it's been a while since I've used it, but I vaguely recall a "http://remi.nd/_____" format to it).
Anyhow, I created some index card-sized registration instructions for the first day of school, as well as for our school's Open House night this coming Tuesday. It took some effort and I gave the paper cutter a heck of a workout to chop down the notes to 3-inch by 5-inch size, but they are ready to go and are featured on THIS tweet, the photo of which is included below.
I created my notes using Microsoft Word and have included the files below. Please comment on this post if you find issues with either file.
- HERE is the file in ".doc" format for Word 97-2003
- HERE is the file in ".docx" format for Word 2007 and newer
For entertainment sake, I've included a gallery below of the gimmicky images I used for these notecards to give a better preview of what I've created and shared. If you would like to make your own or modify the designs I've used, I had good luck in performing a Google search for "dynamic images," which allowed me to edit the text that appeared within each image.
- I was selected as one of eight teachers on the Kansas Teacher of the Year team this past year. We were asked to appear at numerous colleges around the state during the past semester, as well as at one another's school districts and other education-related functions. To try my hand at using Remind101, I asked the other members of the team to subscribe to my feed and would send reminders of the address where we would be appearing in the near future, sometimes including a URL for an uploaded campus map of where we were scheduled to appear. Their feedback was great and I hope that I was able to encourage them to use Remind101 in their own classes and activities in the coming year, especially since I forced a couple of them to download the app while they were looking over my shoulder at how it worked.
- As the adviser of the National Honor Society chapter at my school, I often times try to recruit students for community service opportunities and handing out a personal note and tracking down numerous students during the school day has proven a losing battle on many occasions. Prior to the end of last school year, I gave instructions at a group meeting on how they could subscribe to text reminders for NHS. One recent tradition we have enjoyed has been to work the registration tent at the Ironman Kansas 70.3 triathlon in early June, at Clinton Lake which is just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. In the past, we have been charged with one shift, the evening before the actual event. This year, we were given TWO shifts on separate days, so I needed to round up TWICE the volunteers! Remind101 helped me easily spread the word to students and some of their parents and, as my wife noted later, it did not make near as big an impact on our cell phone plan as the year prior where I had to look up students in the phone book and try to reach them at home, if they still had a landline. The amount of simplicity and stress reduction I was afforded by using Remind101 is immeasurable. I greatly anticipate seeking volunteers for our next volunteer opportunity at The Color Run in Lawrence, Kansas, on September 14th.
- This school year, already, I have bragged about Remind101 to numerous colleagues, administrators, neighbors, and school board members. The alternative our district's central office staff and building secretaries are able to use is Blackboard Connect, but it is not available to teachers, coaches, or sponsors at this time.
I have easily come to appreciate the ease and simplicity of implementing Remind101 in my classes from day one in each of the courses I am teaching this school year and look forward to sharing this resource with more teachers in the future, but first I have to recount and be certain I have enough cards for our Open House on Tuesday, so I can show some #R101LOVE to the parents who attend and ask how exactly I am texting their students and whether they can receive the same reminders (NOTE: this weekend alone, I am aware of EIGHT parents who have subscribed to the class their child belongs to.).