Would You Use A Private Twitter For Teachers?

Have you ever wanted to text your students their homework assignments? How about have a private discussion about a particular book / assignment that only your classroom could see? That’s the idea behind a new resource that’s being touted as a ‘Twitter for teachers.’

Before you laugh and say that Twitter is already terrific for teachers (I agree!), Remind101 is a bit different. It’s more like an extremely private Twitter for just your classroom. So while I think the billing of the service as a ‘Twitter for teachers’ seems more like a marketing ploy, it’s an interesting concept and I’ll be curious to see how this progresses.

So What Is It?

Remind101 is a private “Twitter for teachers,” providing educators with a “safe” way to broadcast messages like test reminders (hence the name) and notes of encouragement to their students. With remind101 no participant has any access to any other participant’s sensitive contact info like phone numbers or email addresses.

“It’s not that we don’t trust teachers. It’s that teachers don’t have a good way to communicate because there are potential assumptions people can make,” says Kopf. In three weeks since the service’s launch, the product has been used by 1,500K teachers, 15,000 students and parents; cumulatively sending over 130K messages.

Problems

There are a few immediate problems that spring to mind with the service. First, it’s replicating Twitter almost too much which means there’s already a better service out there that’s been more broadly adopted. Second, it relies on text messaging-style communication and many students / teachers do not want school-related texts on their personal phones. Third, much of this functionality could be achieved by creating a private Twitter account and / or a private SMS group on Kik, Blackberry Messenger, etc.

That being said, it’s a step in the right direction and it’s always wonderful to see educational technology advancing like this!

Will You Use It?

Check out the video and gallery below and then head over to the Edudemic Facebook page to let your fellow readers know if you will / do use the Remind101 service. I’m genuinely curious to get your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

1 Comment

  1. @tedcurran

    September 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

    This looks like more of a notification system than a way to share content information.I've been testing "private Twitter" clients (Yammer, Presently, Socialcast) in my university edtech department, and we've been finding that the Twitter-style clones are just too restrictive. I think one of the limitations of Twitter is that it is designed to strip away rich media like photos, videos, and even longform text, leaving just enough information to send by SMS. Consequently, the average computer of any age looks at Twitter and goes "what the heck IS this?" The reason Facebook is so popular (and Twitter isn't) is that it displays linked information like videos and images inline so you don't have to click out to see what people are talking about.
    In our testing, users much preferred SocialCast (which appears to be modeled after Facebook's UI) because it's easy to attach files, photos, and links. Of course, it also will allow you to send quick messages and announcements, but it's not limited to that kind of communication.
    If I were to put a classroom social network in place, I'd look at Schoology, Edmodo, or a BuddyPress network like InterLearn.us to give students lots of options in a familiar format.