Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BOOST PARENT CONTACT WITH REMIND

Remind.com's landing page (as of this posting)
One of my very favorite online tools in Remind.com. I discovered Remind a couple of years ago when I was looking for ways to increase my parent contact. As a secondary teacher with 100-150 students each year, I wanted a quick and easy way to reach out to parents and let them know about upcoming events and deadlines (tests, projects, etc.) Remind.com makes this incredibly easy and completely free!

Remind lets teachers send text or email reminders to parents (and to students) while keeping everyone's personal information safe and private; I can text students about the date of the next test while respecting each other's privacy: they never have access to my phone number and I never have access to theirs. It's an opt-in service, so parents who do not want to receive notifications won't receive them. It only goes to the people who choose to sign up for it. That way, the people who want or need that extra reminder get it, but people who don't want it aren't bombarded with emails or texts.

Sign-up is incredibly easy. Once you create an account and create a class, Remind will generate an invitation that you can print and distribute to students and parents. I allow students to take out their phones on the first day of class to sign up for Remind. I also send hard copies home to parents. They make great handouts for Open House and Parent-Teacher Conferences. If your school uses the Danielson Framework for teacher evaluation, using Remind is a great artifact for Domain 4!


Sample Printable Invitation to Remind
Once you have students and parents signed up, you can begin sending reminders. You can even schedule reminders to be sent at a later time. Recently, Remind also made it possible to attach documents to your messages, so you can send study guides, permission slips, etc. You can also send links to websites. Take a look at this handout from Remind's website:



Another recent addition is that you can now enable "chats," which means that parents and students can chat with you (still protecting your privacy by not sharing either party's personal contact information). This seems like it would be great if I only taught a few students, but I think that I'll stick with email if I need a back-and-forth conversation with specific parents. I don't want to offer immediate access to me (through chat mode) and then disappoint people if I can't respond right away.

Overall, I think that Remind is a great service and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to increase parent contact (or student contact)! I'm looking forward to using the new attachment feature next year. If you're using Remind, please let me know about your experience in the comments.

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