What We Learned at #Merit12

by Christine Garland

Last week, remind101 received an invitation from our friend Rushton Hurley to do a presentation at MERIT’s (Making Education Relevant and Interactive through Technology) summer 2012 training “camp.” If you’re not familiar with MERIT, it’s a research-based, educator development program designed to help teachers bolster their curriculum with student-centered, technology-enhanced learning activities to motivate, challenge and inspire the diverse learners and leaders of the future. Teachers from around the world apply, but only a small group is selected for the year long program. Probably because it’s so darn awesome.

Needless to say, we were extremely appreciative, and uber enthusiastic for the chance to sit in front of such an elite group of teachers and talk about remind101! So Friday morning, co-founder Brett and myself put on our Remind T’s, gathered up our necessary presentation materials, and free swag for giveaways, and headed to the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College (KCI).

What we didn’t know, was that we’d be doing far more listening than presenting. As soon as Brett got started,  it became clear that a structured prez wasn’t happening. This group of educators ROCKED. They were eager and wanted to know more. As Brett took question after suggestion, my fingers were flying to get everything down before our session ended.

So today, we wanted to share with y’all the big takeaways from our day at #MERIT12, and how we’re taking action on what we learned:

1. QR Codes aren’t just for marketing. They’re for easily accessing class phone numbers and codes! The problem: As soon Brett put up an invite page to have our class test out the service, he found himself reading off the phone number since almost no one could see it from the back of the room. We immediately realized we had a problem.

The solution: As our MERIT class shared, adding a QR code on the Invite page to automate subscribing would speed up the process immensely, and result in far less confusion and/or mis-typing mistakes. Plus, QR codes can be scanned from the back of the room. Walla! No more reading phone numbers or whipping out binoculars. We LOVED this suggestion so much we even took it to the masses for feedback. Majority has ruled, and we’re working on adding the feature now!

Special thanks to Brian Darmanin for the tip! You’re awesome!

2. Let kids turn on their phone’s sound just this one special time. (This one is just a fun idea!)Imagine: You’re  in class asking all your kids to subscribe to your messages. Once subscribed, you send a test text…phones start buzzing and beeping as each student receives your message. FUN!

If you try this one – you should record it and send it to me! (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)3) A lot of teachers are also coaches, and also professors, and also club leaders, and also parents. We let you create multiple classes with different names and different lists, why haven’t we been letting you customize your signature to each class?

The Problem: Long time user, and absolutely awesome human being, Diane Main, brought this one up to us. She’s a teacher and an instructor, that means two different titles. Yet we’ve forced her to choose between them. The Solution: We heard you Diane, and it’s on our list to discuss adding in future Remind iterations!

4) When you subscribe via text you are asked for your name. When you subscribe via email you are asked for….nothing. Wha? The Problem: Opps. This one is our bad. We’ve been pulling names from the email addresses subscribing, and in the process forgot to think about all the people with email address like, “ILoveAsparagus@zyz.com.”

The Solution: Moving forward, we’ll be figuring out the best way to gather names from our email subscribers. 5) Been wishing you could reorganize the order of your classes in your account? We get that! One of those things that us unorganized folk overlooked.

The Problem: You don’t always add classes in the order you want them to appear. The Solution: Have no fear, the ability to organize will soon be here. Just not quite yet…

You guys talk, we listen! It’s the Remind way.