Thursday, December 18, 2014

Using @RemindHQ For Leadership

In the past, I've written about how much I love using Remind. So much so, I am an advisor to the company. But even if I wasn't an advisor I think the simple way the service allows for educators to connect to students and parents via text messaging is elegant and so simple to use.

What is Remind?

In it's simplest form it allows for a teacher to create a virtual texting group to exchange messages with members. As a teacher, I would be concerned giving my personal cell phone number to parents or students or having theirs but with Remind I don't have to worry about that. No personal information is exchanged. Group members simply need a code and a special number to text to to sign up. Once they do, I can send messages, voice messages, motivational stamps and more. Downloading the app to have Remind anywhere I am makes it so I can be engaged with my students from anywhere.

Remind is very popular with teachers, as you would assume. My wife, a math teacher uses it, along with her colleagues to keep parents up-to-date to team happenings, special projects and reminders. In younger grades teachers are using it with parents and in upper grades many are using it directly with students. The Remind Blog has some great examples of how different teachers are using it to better communicate with students and parents, so do be sure to check that out.

Here lately, though, I've been thinking and working a lot more with school and district leaders. Remind can be a great tool to engage with staff and the community in ways you might not realize.

Here are a few ways School and District Leaders can use Remind:

Keep In Touch-One of the first ways you might be thinking is about keeping in touch with the community. And honestly, it is one of the easiest ways as a Principal or District Leader you can let the community know what's happening. Besides the obvious ways of posting meetings, reminders, and events, use the Voice Memo feature to send short, personalized, audio updates. Or, since you can send attachments, use it as a way to have parents opt out of receiving paper copies from the school or district to save time and money. You can also use it to help bring attention to the great things that are happening.

Staff Reminders and Meetings-I've written about flipping meetings in the past. This allows for more free time for staff to engage in meaningful PD. While it might be easy to turn to email to decimate information, we know email can sometimes be a burden. Remind can work out so much better. Your messages can only be 140 characters you've got to be quick. But since you can send attachments you can summarize meeting notes and items and easily get those out immediately without it getting lost in the inbox.

Book Talks and Article Studies-Remind can be a great way to engage in professional learning. While staff are doing a book or article study, questions or other information can be sent via Remind. And remember, you've got a voice message available in the Remind app. So you can send voice questions, comments and more, extending the use.

Voice Memos-Speaking of the voice messages, these could be used in all sorts of ways. Sending reminders, of course, is one way that comes to mind. But why not send motivational messages each morning. Or well-wishes to your staff. A little bit of voice messaging can go a long way to creating a positive school culture.

As school and district leaders, it's easy to overlook using technology or dismissing technology as "just for the classroom." And for some, Remind would fit into that category. The reality is, Remind is a perfect entry point for those skeptical about how they can use technology as a leader because its so simple to use and there are so many different uses.

Those are just a few of the ways you can use remind as a School or District Leader. What are some others you are doing or you've seen? Leave a comment below.

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