Why Won’t Students Use Remind?!

The remind logo.

SOURCE: https://www.remind.com/

So, I’ve been trying to implement Remind in my general chemistry course for about three weeks now. You would think that since most of my students are between 18 and 22 years old, they would be quick to adopt this new technology in my classroom. About 10% of my students have taken to it with open arms. They are sending me messages and I am quickly and easily returning them. The other 90% have not even begun to use it.

So, about 2 weeks ago, I announced that I would give every student who just installed and tried to use Remind 10 bonus points towards their homework average (that’s tiny percentage considering the number of points possible). The bonus points only seemed to have enticed 2 extra students. I have no idea why they simply will not try the app.

For those students who are using it, and myself, it has proven to be highly valuable. Remind has allowed me to quickly send out announcements and reminders. It has allowed my students to quickly send me questions or concerns. I’m loving the fact that I get to see who has viewed my announcement and who hasn’t viewed it.

I just need to figure out how to get more students to utilize it…

New Thing!

The remind logo.

SOURCE: https://www.remind.com/

I think this might be the first post on this blog that is not based on a class prompt. As some may have noticed, I have been looking into using Remind.com in my general chemistry course (it is a traditional course). I’ve finally reached a point where I can say with certainty how I am hoping to use it. For background, in general, Remind is a messaging system. Additionally it was designed for classroom usage and it meets with the big legal requirements for use in classes: FERPA and COPPA.

Intended Uses

Attendance and Questions After Class

Attendance.

SOURCE: http://www.knowleswood.co.uk/bradford/primary/knowleswood/site/pages/keyinfo/attendance

For many years now, I have had in interesting system of taking attendance that fulfills two important functions. At the end of each class period, my student take out a sheet of paper, write their names on it, and then write any questions that they have either from lecture that day or about the class in general. After class I use these to take attendance for the day. Additionally I go through all of these notes and respond via email to the students to answer their questions. I have found that by answering student questions as soon as they have them helps to prevent those problems from snowballing into seemingly insurmountable problems later in the course.

Remind can serve this purpose quite well I believe. My plan is that at the end of the class, the students will message me in Remind with any questions that they have from the day. Of course they are always welcome to tell me that the don’t have any questions. Because I can create courses and add students to them, I can quickly see who was present and who was absent. I can also quickly reply to those messaged questions. It’s a win-win… plus it doesn’t contribute to deforestation which is a big plus.

Outside of Class Messaging

A graphic of a guy holding a book looking confused.

SOURCE: https://englishemporium.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/hobbit-journal-topic-2/question-mark-book-guy-iclip/

Students often have questions outside of class. Currently, in order to ask me these questions the students need to either: a) log into Canvas and message me, b) open their email, find my email address, and email me, or c) try to remember the question until they can ask me in person. Eliminating obstacles from this process should make students more likely to immediately ask their questions, which should help them dramatically. The number of times students have come to my office and said “I had a question about the homework but now I’ve forgotten” is rather staggering. With Remind, students will be able to immediately message their questions to me simply by pulling out the phones and opening the app. The way I see it, the more I encourage questions and the easier I make it to ask questions, the better the educational experience will be for everyone.

During Class Messaging

Photo of students with their hands raised in a chemistry class.

SOURCE: http://tenntlc.utk.edu/2013/04/09/are-you-asking-the-right-questions/

When we look at the SAMR model, technology can be used in classrooms to take various forms: substitution for current abilities, augmentation of current abilities, modification of current abilities, and redefinition of current abilities (Romrell, Kidder, & Wood, 2014). So far, my intended use of Remind as I have thus far described it is mainly in the first two of these realms. I have decided to go a step further.

The writing assignments that I have used for years, and discussed above, are post-class. What about those students who have questions during class but lack the courage to ask during class? Like me, for example. I’m a very introverted person and almost never ask questions during a class. My intention is to allow the students to message me those questions during the class. I will leave the Remind app running on my iPad at the front of the class and will answer those questions, verbally, as they come up… time permitting, of course. If I do not have time, I will answer them immediately after class in messages. Being able to receive questions from students non-verbally during class is something that I have never been able to do with out this technology. Hopefully it will work well.

Getting the Students Ready

Now, how do I go about informing the students. Rather than spending part of a lecture period discussing it, I have create an infographic (see below). This is the first infographic I have ever create for a class I am teaching. I’m hoping that it works as well as those that I have created for course I have taken.

I will try to update this blog with observations that I make as I begin using the service.

My inforgraphic of introducing students to my use of Remind.

My infographic

References

Romrell, D., Kidder, L. C., & Wood, E. (2014). The SAMR Model as a Framework for Evaluating mLearning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 18(2), n2.