We all did it when we were in school - we would dutifully go home, check our planners and rejoice when there was not an assignment to be done. We'd enjoy the evening, hang out with friends, and kill time until we inevitable went to sleep at 1 am anyway, only to arrive at school the next morning and discover that there was something due! We just hadn't written it down, and our grades suffered as a result.
For most students, this is the occasional result of being in a rush to get out of class. But for some students, like the one discussed at the beginning of Providing Student Reminders, Protecting Student Privacy, this forgetfulness is rooted in a more serious issue. For students with special needs in mainstream classrooms, or with behavioral disorders like ADD, the inability to think ahead or write down assignments is what puts them in hot water academically (not a lack of intelligence or poor understanding of the course work). This is where technology-based reminders can help to save a student.
In the article, Dougherty describes the advantages and drawbacks of several different "reminder" technologies that can be used to help students stay on top of their work. First she explores the possibility of using Twitter to send reminders to her students, since it is a technology that most school-aged kids enjoy and use regularly. The site has its drawbacks, however, since it allows students a way to invade their teacher's private life and time, can lead to bad grammar skills, and opens up the possibility that students could reveal too much on the internet and cause a security risk to themselves.
As an alternative to Twitter, Dougherty suggests Remind101, an app that allows teachers to send reminders directly to students' phones without knowing their phone numbers or opening anyone (teacher included) up to a potential invasion of their personal lives. The app allows teachers to send "tweet-like messages" to students to remind them of assignments, send last-minute corrections or changes, and allow students who were absent to get an overview of what they missed. She also liked the app because it would allow her to send reminders not only to students, but to parents too. This way, a student doesn't need to record an assignment to be reminded of it later on, and thus increases their chances of success in the class.
I felt that this article fit the fourth National Educational Technology Standard best, which is to Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility. By addressing the fact that some students, while intelligent, struggle in classes because of forgotten work, Dougherty definitely uses Remind101 to address the needs of all learners in her classroom and uses an appropriate method to help those students succeed. Her concerns about Twitter and the potential issues with privacy that it presents also provide an opportunity for her to model digital etiquette and the responsible sharing of information online. As long as she explains her reasoning behind choosing the app to her students, it would serve as a great oppotunity to have a discussion and bring awareness to the dangers of posting too much personal information on social media and the internet at large.
An area in which this technology fell short, however, was its inability to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity (Standard 1). Although Remind101 seems like a great app for simple reminders, it cuts off student-teacher and student-student lines of communication. Because students cannot respond to messages sent on the app, they have no opportunity to engage in learning with other students or to construct knowledge collaboratively. The tool itself does not serve as a resource for discovering new information or solving authentic problems, either. It does what it is supposed to, which is to remind students of assignments and work. But it does not encourage them to go beyond that understanding.