In the past, all the class lists, emails (yes, typed email addresses) and phone numbers were printed out and given to the scholars in folder, over seventy-five pages long. Much of the material (like all printed matter) was dated and scholars were advised to carry a pen/pencil in order to make changes. Posting all the material was a passion of mine, plus I wanted better communication with the entire group.
Last year, Mentormob won the Chicago Innovation Award. I was extremely interested in the site. I jumped at the chance to have a walled community where we could post personal information such as emails, phone, and full names.
It was simple to set up and make playlists, then place the playlists in folders. The folders then are shared to groups. I could have the 2012’s with separate playlists than the 2013‘s. I would have reflective leaders with different playlists. The site is much like google+ with dragging people into groups, folders, and playlists.
The google doc integration is fabulous. So, I would change the permissions on the doc to “anyone with the link – can view.” That way I could change the page inside my google drive and not have to login to Mentormob. Sweet!
Having the majority of the teachers with limited tech skills and the scholars with some tech skills was going to be a challenge. Well, not only did the reflective leaders embrace the site, they were asking how to post and add resources themselves. The entire community was using it so much that at one point one playlist had over 3,500 hits (with only 275 on the site)
It became apparent that instant communication was needed instead of just posting the daily announcements.
Remind101 is a free and safe way for teachers/administrators to message students/parents without having their phone number or email address, since people subscribe to you. There is also a feature that you can set up to “schedule for later,” and use the website or your phone (the app is free) to message your subscribers.
I was planning on using this the third week at the Summer Institute with the Scholars once MentorMob was up and running. I had seen it at ISTE, and it looked interesting and doable for the group. The second week the scholars were emailing me that they wanted texting of daily announcements, instead of posting the announcements through MentorMob. So, I did a quick beta test with twelve scholars in one day and pushed out the communication using remind101 the next day.
One of the reflective leaders was in charge of the remind101 text, since she would be on campus and have the most current information. First, she went around to each of the scholar groups in order for the scholars to “subscribe” to the texts. Now we were paperless AND total communication was achieved.
In a short time, I had believers in the paperless world and using text to communicate with the scholars. Mentormob and Remind101 was the topic of conversation, how wonderful the communication had been.
At the closing ceremony the joke was that I only did a fifteen minute presentation on how to navigate on MentorMob and the scholars were scrambling to learn how to access all the playlists. Yes, there was a learning curve, but by looking at the numbers, everyone figured it out – even the non-techies!
Here’s a great tutorial about remind101
Edmodo. YES! For the Technology Class I taught was a community of four different classes. I felt the communication within our classes was much like Facebook, posting our questions and files we had completed. I also wanted the scholars to use it, since there is a lot of professional development groups out there. It was easy to set up on the first day and get them in the habit of always setting up your profile first.
Since is it so much like Facebook, they immediately began to connect with each other and post immediately.
Using these three tools really made the Summer Institute a more connected and innovative group of young educators. Many of the scholars had limited technology skills (that’s another blog post) so I had to find tools that were easy to use on the computer and usable on mobile devices. These three did it!