According to both Apple and App Annie, a website that tracks the popularity of mobile apps by number of new downloads, Remind, a school communications platform, took the #1 spot on the chart of free iOS apps.
Remind’s app allows educators, parents and students to send and receive text and voice messages, as well as share attachments and links to digital educational resources. The company was founded in 2011 with a straightforward value proposition: to provide teachers with a safe and secure way to send homework or study reminders to students and their parents on mobile devices without using personal phone numbers.
Those features may seem simple by today’s standards. But it’s amassed a growing footprint, claiming users in more than 70 percent of U.S. public schools. Grey adds that Remind today has 27 million monthly active users (which breaks down to approximately 2 million teachers, 13 million students and 12 million parents). Across them, Remind says 17 billion messages have been sent since its launch.
Along with simplicity, Remind’s timing may have also helped the product find a receptive market. The company’s launch in 2011 coincided with the start of a period that saw smartphone adoption among U.S. adults steadily grow from 35 percent in 2011 to 77 percent in 2018, according to the Pew Research Center.
At its core, Remind remains very much a school communications tool, says Grey. But his grander vision is to evolve the app into what he calls an “educational platform” that allow users to share content from other providers. For instance, when Remind users compose a message, they can currently connect to their accounts on Google Classroom, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Quizlet and other tools to directly share documents, Powerpoint slides, flashcard sets and other kinds of files.
Here’s how to evaluate the potential for mobile solutions
Before they set foot in their first class, incoming college students face a maze of requirements and resources that will be critical to their success. So-called “student supports” abound. Yet forty percent of first-year studentsdon’t return the following year, and a growing number report information overload as they navigate campus life amid newfound independence.
The nine in 10 undergraduates who own smartphones are probably familiar with the xkcd about it. College-aged Americans check their devices more than 150 times per day. So it should be no surprise that a growing body of research suggests that mobile solutions can play a critical role in enhancing the student experience.
1. Is the mobile app native?
We’ve all had the frustrating experience of using a smartphone to navigate a page that was designed for a computer. But when designing native mobile apps, developers start with the small screen, which leads to simpler, cleaner platforms that get rid of the clutter of the desktop browsing experience.
As smartphones overtake laptops and desktops as the most popular way for young people to get online, native design is critical for universities to embrace.
2. Is there a simple content management system?
It’s also critical to explore whether mobile apps integrate with an institution’s existing LMS, CMS, and academic platforms. The most effective apps will allow you to draw upon and translate existing content and resources directly into the mobile experience. My note: this is why it is worth experimenting with alternatives to LMS, such as Facebook Groups: they allow ready-to-use SIMPLE mobile interface.
3. Does it allow you to take targeted action?
At-risk or disengaged students often require more targeted communication and engagement which, if used effectively, can prevent them falling into those categories in the first place.
Unlike web-based tools, mobile apps should not only communicate information, but also generate insights and reports, highlighting key information into how students use the platform.
4. Does it offer communication and social networking opportunities?
Teenagers who grew up with chatbots and Snapchat expect instant communication to be part of any online interaction. Instead of making students toggle between the student affairs office and conversations with advisors, mobile platforms that offer in-app messaging can streamline the experience and keep users engaged.
This session will describe an approach to online discussions that moves beyond the threaded message boards of D2L Brightspace, yet still maintained an asynchronous online delivery. Using teams, discussions were differentiated by product to allow students to turn in an artifact that represented their shared understanding during specific online course modules. Strategies, Technology guides, rubrics, and student feedback will be shared.
Presenter: Michael Manderfeld
Senior Instructional Designer
Minnesota State University Mankato
My note: if this is going on with BB, imagine what is the issue with D2L.
competitors emerged that were more difficult to ignore. Firms such as Instructure and Sakai attempted to separate themselves from Blackboard by focusing on customizing their software for clients and providing extensive daily maintenance.
As rivals gained traction, Blackboard’s grip on the market began to slip. Some companies relied on open-source software that made them more nimble. Blackboard didn’t adopt it until 2012. Student and faculty complaints about the software also took on new life.
“Blackboard will be the death of me,” wrote one student on Tumblr a year ago.
“Why is everything so counter-intuitive?” said one professor on an online forum at the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Why do you have to click a million times just to do a simple task?”
the company has struggled to find technology that will appeal to all students and professors
It is focused on expanding its reach in K-12 institutions to broaden the market, Blot said, and is diving into the world of mobile apps.
16 Startups Poised to Disrupt the Education Market
Colleges and universities are facing new competition for customers–students and their parents–from startups delivering similar goods (knowledge, credentials, prestige) more affordably and efficiently. Here’s a rundown of some of those startups.
Using cloud-based e-textbooks and course materials, Rafter helps campus bookstores digitize their offerings and keep their prices low, allowing them to regain the market share they were losing to other stores and course-materials marketplaces.
Piazza is an online study room where students can anonymously ask questions to teachers and other students. The best answers get pushed to the top through repeated user endorsement.
As do the above two companies, InsideTrack sells its services to universities. It provides highly personalized coaching to students and it helps colleges assess whether their technology and processes are equipped to measure student progress. nsideTrack recently announced a partnership with Chegg, through which it will provide its coaching services directly to students.
If you attended a four-year school, then you know the feeling of receiving relentless requests for alumni donations. USEED is like Kickstarter for school fundraising:
Founded by Stanford computer science professor Sebastian Thrun, Udacity creates online classes through which companies can train employees. AT&T, for example, paid Udacity $3 million to develop a series of courses, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In a nonprofit joint venture, MIT and Harvard created their own organization offering free online courses from top universities. Several other schools now offer their courses through EdX, including Berkeley, Georgetown, and the University of Texas system.
13. Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative
CMU’s OLI is another example of a nonprofit startup founded by a school to ward off its own potential disruption.
Founder Michael Saylor has been musing on how technology can scale education since he himself was an undergrad at MIT in the early ’80s. Anyone, anywhere, can take courses on Saylor.org for free.
15. Open Badges
Founded by Mozilla, Open Badges is an attempt to establish “a new online standard to recognize and verify learning.”
Calling itself the “future of certificate management,” Accredible is the company that provides certification services for several of the online schools on this list, including Saylor.org and Udacity.
The advent of Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs and wikis offered viable alternative to the commercial CMS. Further, open source products such as Drupal and Sakai posed additional competition to commercial CRS.
Last but not least, with the advent of cloud computing, a new generation of products are competing with BB and D2L