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.
Attendance and Questions After Class
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
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
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.
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.