Last Sunday I received a disturbing call from our Youth Minister at church. She let me know that the bathrooms at church had flooded again and that all classes for that afternoon had to be canceled. She asked if I might be able to call the students in my class to inform them, and of course, I said yes.
So, what do you think I did? It was Sunday afternoon and I was at Home Depot renting a ladder for some minor home repair. It would be nearly an hour before I could call them! I thought back to a time when in parish ministry I had set up a phone tree. You know, I’ll call two people and you call two people and they will call two people and so on, and so on, and so on. Have you ever heard of (or tried using) this messaging system? It’s designed to make transmitting information easy because it’s spread among many people! Unless, that is, one of the people can’t be reached.
That’s when I pulled out my phone and opened my messaging app, Remind. Remind is an app designed for easy broadcasting and communication. I pecked out the message that class was cancelled for that night due to a water main break. I selected my class and tapped send. Within two minutes of the call I had messaged everyone in the class! Immediately, I received my text message and was comforted that everyone on the list had been notified. Since it was time sensitive, and because I had said I would, once I got home I called everyone to confirm. The only two I reached said they had already received the message on Remind. What a relief!
How does it work?
Remind is a free, safe, easy-to-use text messaging tool that helps teachers and catechists connect instantly with students and parents. Remind was designed specifically for educators, so has taken into consideration professional and legal aspects of messaging. Remind boasts a 15 second sign-up, safe, private, and efficient messaging.
Additional features such as “Stamps” allow instant feedback from your class. You can send a message or question and watch as students and parents respond, while Remind summarizes feedback for you. From the app you may also personalize class communication with voice clips. Simply record a voice message and send audio clips to your class. Widgets can be embedded in your class website or blog to display recently sent class messages. In addition to all of these features you can save time by scheduling messages. Photos and files can be attached directly to your messages for enhanced communication. Other great features include selecting who receives messages, in case you need to reach a partial list, and a minimum of three persons must be included for a message to send. This avoids private messaging.
To me, the best feature is that it is one-way communication and you never see phone numbers or email addresses, so it is safe for communicating with minors. Also, you never have to reveal your personal contact information either. As people sign up you’ll see their names added to the class list.
You can do it, too!
Go to Remind.com and try it for yourself! It’s so easy you’ll wish you had known about it long before now! Once you set up a free account on Remind you name a class and tell your students and parents to sign up. You simply give them a number to text (provided by Remind) and a class code that you create. They have the choice to receive a text message or email. It’s great for simple reminders of class times, when there is no session, to bring something to class, or in this case, an urgent message! I also use it to send flipped lessons before class and for class photos or class projects after a session. Phone calls and emails are still viable options, but for quick and easy communication try Remind!
PS – I realize this sounds a LOT like a commercial for Remind. I can assure you that this is a suggestion based on my personal experience and I receive no monetary gain if you sign up. There are many ways to send text messages, but this is the one that works best for me.
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