Every year, developers come out with new apps and gadgets to makes students’s lives easier. Some — like Remind — are a redux of the original. Others are new this school year. Here are three that have gained my interest.
Remind (formerly Remind 101)
First introduced to faculty by Mr. Johnston, Remind has been used for several years by teachers and coaches, Remind remains at the top of my list due to its ease of use for faculty. The app is free, anyone can sign up, and it is easy for teachers to use.
Remind is a service where the classroom teacher (or coach) can broadcast a bulk SMS (text message). Teachers use the service to remind students of their assignments or maybe an upcoming text. Coaches like using Remind for anything from communicating practice changes to players to sending venue directions to parents. The benefit of a product like Remind is that everyone checks text messages. Not everyone checks their email.
Since smart phones have become so ubiquitous, Remind is a top choice.
A new feature is the ability to send document attachments with a message. Miss Sparduti uses the service frequently to send announcements to her girls basketball squad.
Sign up is easy. If you can send a text, you can sign up!
SchoolWay is new this school year. It is a free service powered by Jostens, the yearbook people. SchoolWay also provides a free app for teachers and students. The app is used by teachers to send push notifications to students and parents who are signed up. However, it cannot be used b y teachers to send notifications. Sending notifications requires the class organizer to log in online.
In my opinion, this is the draw back. And unless the app is running, students have to check it to see what teachers have pushed.
The benefit of SchoolWay is that students and parents can subscribe to multiple classes “in-app.” This means that all the class feeds are centrally located for app users.
Whether this catches on remains to be seen. Many teachers and students are already used to how Remind functions. And simply adding SchoolWay, the classroom teacher runs the risk of becoming “white noise.” Deluging students with too many messages is counter productive.
Finally, signing up is probably more challenging than it has to be.
HomeWork Scribe is an organizational tool that students use to record and keep track of assignments. The app allows students to also set reminders for important dates such as assignment dues dates and upcoming test dates.
Students can customize their portfolio of courses with a different area for each course. this helps make school life more productive.
The calendar feature is very intuitive as well. Open it anytime you want to check on your progeress or on dues dates.
The app is free in the App Store and the Google Play store.