Remind is a private mobile messaging platform that aims to help teachers, students, parents, and administrators to communicate with everyone at once. Students can take part by downloading the app or via basic text messaging. While providing the same convenience as other messaging platforms, Remind does not require the teacher or students to share their personal information, such as phone number or email address, with each other, protecting the private information of both teacher and students. “It is overall a very convenient platform. Remind masks personal information, and thus the relationship between me and my students is contained within the class,” says Christine, a teacher of a Level 2 class.
At LCNV, many teachers use Remind to extend learning and as a channel to communicate with their students outside of class. On the platform, teachers not only share class reminders and homework with students, they also share pictures of class activities, supplemental learning materials (e.g., this Quizlet set on pharmacy vocabulary by families learning teacher Kathy) and YouTube videos (e.g., English with Jennifer) to help the students learn. “As indicated by the name of the platform, this is the actual reminder for students to come to class and do their homework,” shares level 1 teacher Gabrielle, “but on a deeper level, the message we share on the platform also becomes part of the motivation for students to come to class.” Gabrielle further indicates that by sharing learning materials and resources with the students, those who have missed a class can at least keep up with their homework and stay in the loop. “Retention is a challenge for many adult learners who lead busy lives between the responsibilities of earning a living and raising a family,” says Dr. Carole Bausell, Director of Academic Affairs. “It is our hope that by encouraging our teachers to use Remind, we will increase the likelihood of their students staying engaged with learning. Ultimately this is likely to have some impact upon attendance.”
Remind also helps the students and teachers to develop their own communities. In Jackie’s Level 3 English class, students did not just receive information from her about class reminders and homework, some Spanish-speaking students also created their own chat group within Remind to talk about exam preparations and share pictures. However, students’ digital literacy level considerably influences how much interaction they will have with each other on the platform, and, students creating their own groups is not common across all classes. “My students normally don’t reply to anything I send to them. I think whether they will reply or not depends on their level of English and technology skills, as well as how comfortable or how confident they feel communicating on this platform,” reflects Carolyn, teacher of a Level 1 class. In fact, the lack of student reply and the challenge to tell if they have understood the message is a concern mentioned by several teachers.
In the end, when asked about if they will keep using Remind, all the teachers interviewed gave a positive answer. Teachers all mentioned that spending some time in class dedicated to teaching students how to use Remind and helping them to add themselves into the group is something very helpful. Once everyone has joined the group, it is very easy for the teachers to send out notifications to students; and the conversation does not need further maintenance. “It is a platform of lots of potentials,” says Carolyn, “I think I haven’t explored all the functions of Remind, and I will definitely keep using it in the future and learn about it.”