Reminder: Free May Not Always Be Free

by | Jan 15, 2019 | Transforming Education | 0 comments

[Updated 01-15-2019 at 1:48 PM]

As a stark reminder today that some of the free technology tools we use with our students will not always be free, Remind has announced the following:

Starting on Monday, January 28, text notifications will be ending for Verizon Wireless customers who use the free Remind service.

If you communicate with your class on Remind: People who normally get your Remind messages as texts may no longer receive them.

If you have Verizon Wireless as your phone carrier: You’ll no longer receive Remind text notifications. To get messages, you’ll need to turn on smartphone or email notifications instead.

Now, Remind is still free and it still works. However, the limitations placed upon it by Verizon make it slightly less effective than previously for communicating with students and parents. That means, as suggested on their website, we are now at the mercy of Verizon and our only resort is to beg them to change their minds, or eventually Remind may have to start charging us. Either way, this is bad news for Remind and the people who rely on it.

Remind, on one hand, requires very little time investment for all who use it. However, the time that has been invested and the habits that have been formed by using it also need to be considered in the cost of losing it or switching to something new. This should remind us that what we have found, developed preference for, and helped our students become accustomed to may become less viable on a whim.

We need to invest our time and energy, and that of our students, in what is sustainable: in the tools that we can build over time and that will not be swept out from under our feet too easily. But we also need to help students develop habits that can withstand change in online tools, to establish ways of doing things that acknowledge that tomorrow could be entirely different, and to be able to do things in a variety of ways.

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